Russell Co. Sheriff promises justice in slaying of a Columbus mother

Alabama News

RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – Two daughters are without a mother tonight, and four suspects are facing Capital Murder charges after an early morning kidnapping in Columbus leads to a homicide investigation across state lines into Russell County

Late Monday afternoon, we learned 39-year old Tameka Skinner’s body was recovered in a wooded area of Russell County. Why the young mother was allegedly kidnapped, then shot remains a mystery. Sheriff Heath Taylor says investigators are working on a motive while making a promise to Skinner’s family.

“I spoke with the family, and I promised our office would do everything we could do get justice for Tameka,” said Sheriff Taylor.

Investigators say Skinner and a male friend were assaulted around 1:00 Monday morning at the Huckleberry Hill Apartment complex in Columbus. Skinner was allegedly abducted then, and her vehicle stolen. Investigators say the male victim was injured but was not taken. Investigators traced Skinner’s vehicle to Russell County, where they noticed another suspicious vehicle on Porter Road. The vehicle took off when investigators tried to make contact, and a chase ensued in the early Monday morning hours.

“Once the vehicle reached Wetumpka, they wrecked, and all four individuals inside were taken into custody,” said Sheriff Taylor.

30-year-old Demetria Johnson, 40-year-old Sean Johnson and 30-year-old Joshua Tolbert of Columbus along with 33-year-old Javion Phillips of Seale, Alabama, face Kidnapping and Capital Murder. As of Monday afternoon, they were still being questioned by investigators, and mug shots were not available. Sheriff Taylor says a handgun investigators suspect was used in the murder was recovered from the vehicle’s crash site in Wetumpka.

Skinner’s body was located around 11:30 Monday morning in a wooded area near Porter and Bush Roads, just a few miles of where her stolen vehicle was recovered earlier in the day. Sheriff Taylor says the suspects allegedly tried to burn the vehicle then conceal it. Skinner had been shot, but why remains unanswered publicly by investigators.

“Right now, we are working on it. We may have some ideas on what the motive is, but we are awaiting on evidence to determine what our motive is going to be,” said Sheriff Taylor.

Skinner’s family tells News 3 they are devastated. The mother of two girls loved to teach dance at the church she attended in Columbus.

News 3 will keep you updated on this developing story.

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