SPANISH LAKE, Mo. (KMOV.com) — The family of a Spanish Lake woman killed on Christmas is pleading for the public’s help, after police say 28-year-old Charese Garvin and her 23-month-old daughter were shot and killed inside their home.
According to Garvin’s family, she was three months pregnant at the time of her death. They also said her two surviving children were inside the home and witnessed the killings.
“We said, ‘where is your mother?’ and she said, ‘she is in the basement dead,'” said Willie Woodard, Garvin’s father. “A six-year old, she said, ‘I want to be with my mother and my sister but I don’t want to die to be with them.’”
Woodard said he stopped by his daughter’s home around 6:30 a.m. on Christmas morning to drop off Christmas presents for her children before they woke up. The brief interaction he had with Garvin on her front porch is the last time he saw his daughter alive.
Later Friday afternoon, the family gathered for a Christmas dinner. When Garvin didn’t show up, family members began calling her cell phone. After several hours of searching for her, Woodard drove by her house.
“I seen her car in the yard and I knocked on the door and nobody answered,” he said. “So I said, she’s not there and that’s strange for my daughter to leave her car, with three kids and ride with somebody else.”
Woodard then called police to perform a welfare check inside the home while he and his wife and several other family members waited outside.
He said the arriving officer was immediately concerned.
“I said ‘maybe we’ll leave’ and she said ‘no,’ she said ‘something don’t feel right, something don’t feel right about this,'” Woodard said.
Around 7 p.m., officers found Garvin and her daughter Alayah Butler shot and killed.
“It was her. It was my daughter,” Nalene Woodard said. “It was my third child.”
The family said investigators told them there was evidence of a struggle and believe Garvin fought back in an attempt to keep herself and her children safe.
“I understand you have an issue with my daughter, but my granddaughter?” said Willie Woodard. “A one-year-old …you can’t have an issue with a one-year-old. You have issues if you kill and murder a one-year-old.”
The family said the killings were the result of a domestic violence incident and do not believe it was a random act. They’re pleading with the individual to do the right thing and turn themselves in.
A 23-month-girl and her mother were found dead inside a home in Spanish Lake on Christmas night, police say.
“This human being should be here with us and her daughter Alayah,” Willie Woodard said. “This is evil.”
No suspects are in custody at this time.
Garvin’s mother, Nalene Woodard, said her life has been turned upside down.
“I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I have to talk to the children that did survive and see everything. I have to let them know we’re here for them,” she said. “I’m starting all over again. I’m a grandmother, now I’m starting over as a parent.”
Andrew Butler, the father of Alayah, said receiving the news of their deaths was “unimaginable and unfathomable. He released the following statement:
Three days later, I am at a loss for words and am still trying to process this tragedy.
As a father of two, my children mean the world to me and hold special places in my heart. Alayah, affectionately known as ‘Lay’, was my youngest daughter that was full of life- she was bossy, energetic, and full of love. I will never understand why my child’s life was suddenly robbed from her one month shy of celebrating her second birthday and cannot quite express the myriad of emotions that I am experiencing.
To know I will never see my child smile or hear her contagious laugh or demanding call for “Da-Da” is heart-wrenching. To know that I will have to find the words to share this devasting loss with my son, her oldest brother, is heart-wrenching. To know that every holiday season will be a reminder of this tragedy is heart-wrenching. To know that the suspect has not been apprehended and that justice has not been served is heart-wrenching, angering and frustrating.
St. Louis County Police have not released any information about a possible suspect. If you have information that can help investigators, you’re encouraged to call CrimeStoppers or county police.
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