Kayla Chapman, a convenience store employee killed in a robbery in Kelso, Washington, was remembered as a fun loving and caring person.
The murder occurred at Holt’s Quik Chek, 400 Cowlitz Way, at 4:12 a.m on January 22, 2019. A memorial grew outside the Quik Chek as news of Kayla’s death spread, and local authorities hunted for the killer. Kelso, Washington is a tight-knit community of just under 12,000 people that is located in the southwestern part of Washington State. She was only 30-years-old.
D’Anthony Williams was later accused of murdering Chapman.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Friends Remembered How Kayla Always Thought About Others & Was a ‘Beautiful Soul’
Kayla was married, according to her Facebook page. She lived in Kelso, Washington, and she was from Kalama. Her last visible Facebook post was a share of a veterans’ suicide hotline. The post was made only a few hours before she was shot and killed.
“Just like you to think of others before you unknowingly took your last breath on Earth. You will be missed KK,” a friend wrote in the comment thread.
She also posted about the government shutdown a few hours before she was slain. “Always thinking of others ?” wrote a friend on that thread. Another friend commented, “You made my life better. You’re such an amazing beautiful soul. I love you so much.”
2. Police Released Surveillance Photos of the Suspect
Kelso police Capt. Darr Kirk confirmed the identity of the clerk as 30-year-old Kelso resident Kayla Chapman. “We have been getting an abundance of tips from the public so we thank you for that. Even if you think it’s minor, don’t hesitate to report it,” police wrote on Facebook.
They gave the following chronology of the incident: “On January 22nd at approximately 4:12 AM Holt’s Quik Chek, located at 400 Cowlitz Way in Kelso was robbed. During the robbery, the suspect shot and killed the only employee at the time.”
They added: “The suspect is believed to be a black, or dark skinned, male but he was utilizing a hat and bandana to cover his head and face.” Authorities released images of the suspect.
“The suspect vehicle is described as a newer white four door sedan. There are believed to be otther occupants of the vehicle at the time of the robbery,” they wrote.
“We responded, and we did find her down,” police said in a news conference. “She later succumbed to her wounds.” She had managed to call 911.
3. Chapman Wrote on Facebook That She Was ‘Loyal to Those I Love’ & Expressed Love for Animals
In a somewhat prophetic Facebook profile statement, Chapman wrote, “—??Loyal to those I Love??—Killing anothers’ fire, won’t help yours shine any brighter, be humble.”
A filter on another post read, “My story isn’t over yet.” It was dated June 2018. Many of her photos on Facebook are selfies or show her with animals.
Kayla often expressed her love of animals on Facebook. “Someone adopt Serena… or any of these babies!! I will pitch in, adopt a cat for my birthday since I can’t!!” she wrote with one share showing cats. She also wrote: “I work hard for what I have and what I want…”
She also organized a Facebook fundraiser to help a non profit that assists dogs. “If we’re doing a birthday fundraiser, it has to be this. Training service dogs for retired veterans to help them cope with things like PTSD, anxiety, loss of a limb or sight etc. So many lose their lives not only to active duty, but to the aftermath as well… here’s to helping them lead a better life when they come home!” she wrote.
She recently expressed, “Some days I just feel overlooked. No matter how much I try to be useful, or how present I am… I’m always the last to get my chance. Tomorrow is another chance at a better, brighter day.”
4. Chapman Was Remembered as the ‘Town’s Best Friend’
Kayla Chapman was well known in Kelso. She graduated from Kalama High School in 2007 and had lived in Kelso for the past decade.
A memorial sprouted up at the scene, and friends stopped to talk to the news media about what Chapman meant to them.
Throughout the day, the memorial grew.
According to King 5, Jessica Rodriquez, who lives near the business where Kayla was shot, described her as “like the town’s best friend. If you need someone to talk to or advice or even somebody just to cry…she’d always be there.”
5. A Friend Described Chapman’s Giving Nature
Other friends also spoke out positively about Kayla Chapman.
One friend told KATU News that she was “the nicest person I ever met, an animal and people lover, and so giving.”
She had worked at the store for “several years.”