It was far from a typical morning before school.
As three Alabama teenagers got dressed in their bedrooms Friday morning, their mother, Melinda Searight, was killed by her boyfriend, Anthony Lanier Kelly.
“I guess I’m going to spend the rest of my life in jail,” he told Searight’s three daughters — a 15-year-old and 13-year-old twins — after striking their mother in the head with an unidentified weapon. He soon fled the house.
“I was at work and she called me screaming,” said Doris Doss, Searight’s mother, adding how she received a frantic call around 6:30 a.m. from the eldest. “She said, ‘Grandma, she’s bleeding from the head.’”
Irondale police responded to the girls’ 911 call shortly after and found the 42-year-old woman unresponsive on her bedroom floor. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Kelly, 36, was charged with murder on Saturday after turning himself in to law enforcement officers on Friday evening.
Initial reports from investigators suspected the murder weapon to be a paracord monkey fist, a martial-arts-like steel ball wrapped in cording and attached to a chain, which Searight carried with her for protection. But it has been reported that the woman died of a gunshot wound to the head by a small handgun.
Searight and Kelly dated in 2010 and had recently gotten back together. Doss said she knew they went on a date Thursday night, but Kelly wasn’t living with Searight.
“I have never known them to get into a physical altercation,” she said, surprised at hearing how her daughter died.
“She was a beautiful, smart, intelligent girl,” Doss added. “She was a people person. Anything she could do for others, she would.”
It’s unclear whose care the girls are currently under, but neighbors reportedly took them in after they alerted authorities Friday morning.
(Photo: Miranda Searight via Facebook)