Skylar Williams, a 20-year-old mother and student, was kidnapped from the Mansfield campus of Ohio State University by her ex-boyfriend, Ty’Rell Pounds, 24, at 11:45 a.m. on Monday. Hours later Williams and Pounds were both dead from gunshot wounds following a police chase in northern Kentucky.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders said police received a 911 call on Monday afternoon from a man who reported he’d seen Pounds force a distraught Williams into a van at a gas station in Gallatin County, KY. The caller said Williams had looked at him and mouthed the words, “Help me.”
When Kentucky State Troopers located the van they tried to pull it over but Pounds refused to stop and a pursuit ensued. Trooper Joey Brown performed a pit maneuver that turned the van sideways and said that when exited his cruiser, he heard shots from inside the van and fired on Pounds, who was wearing a bullet proof vest and was armed with a gun. Pounds died at the scene. Trooper Brown then attempted to help Williams, who’d been shot by ex-boyfriend, by applying a tourniquet to her arm. She was transported to the University of Louisville Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Earlier, Pounds had posted a threatening message addressed to the infant son he shared with Williams on his Facebook page:
“Kylo Pounds I love you so much I hope you become a better man than I was when you turn 18 you’ll get $100,000 dollars be smart with it!!! My dream goal was to raise you as a man and for me to become a state trooper!!! Obviously that didn’t happen!! Your mother kept me away from you and I was fighting for your through the court system!! Your mother kept teasing and I got overwhelmed, I’m so sorry you have to grow up without us baby!! But we’ll be watching you trust me I love you with all my heart Kylo!! I would like for you to become a state trooper state of your choosing!! My side of the family is more fortunate then your mom side of you need anything financially reach out to Keosha Pounds, Victory Pounds or Latiesha Farmer!!! Too my family I love ya’all and I’m sorry dad you’re right I lety my feelings build up!! DONT feel sorry for me cause there is nothing you guys could have done to stop me!! PLEASE KEEP MY SON OUT OF THE STREETS I don’t want him following my bad ways.”
Kentucky State Troopers were not aware of Pounds’ post at the time of the pursuit.
Court records reveal a troubled three-year relationship between Pounds and Williams. In October, Pounds filed a civil protection order against Williams – he then filed to terminate the order on January 16. On January 3, Williams reported to Mansfield police that Pounds had threatened her outside of a gas station. On January 18, she filed a rape charge against Williams, referring to an incident that took place in September of 2018.
The two had a trial date set for April 22 in domestic relations court.
Williams’ teachers remembered her as a “talented young lady” in a “toxic” relationship with Pounds.
“She dated him in high school, and I can remember students telling her then, ‘You should not be with him,’ and if only she listened,” said Laurie Dean, a former teacher of Williams at Madison High School in Mansfield.
Margo K. Lindauer, the Director of the Domestic Violence Institute at Northeastern University School of Law told Refinery29 that custody proceedings can increase the lethality of domestic violence situations. Children are often the last link between abusers and their victims and that abusers often exploit family courts in an effort to retain power.
She also pointed to the presence of firearms as the leading factor in deadly in cases of domestic violence. The presence of a firearm increases the risk of homicide in a domestic violence situation by 500%, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“This is what is so dangerous about guns,” says Lindauer. “When guns are involved people die. The fact that the abuser had a gun in this situation put everyone’s life at greater risk.”
One of Williams’ best friends spoke to ABC News 5 about the tragedy saying of her friend, who studied physical therapy at Ohio State, “I love you so much, and you’re the best mom,” she said. “She was such a smart girl. She was going back to school and I was so proud of that.”
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