Police: 2 half-siblings told parent was sick, resting
WALKER — A 2-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother were at their Walker home for about two days this week while their mother was dead in the back room, shot to death by their older half-brother who drove the mother’s Lexus around town, returning to make sure his siblings were fed, Walker Police claim.
Eddie Robert Island, 17, of 12178 Village Drive, Walker, was booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center Thursday on a count of second-degree murder in the death of his mother Tamila Wooley, 34.
Island remained jailed without bail as of Thursday evening.
Police say they believe Island shot Wooley at their home — a town home in a gated community off Walker South Road — between late Sunday and early Monday and left his mother’s body there for at least two days, Walker Police Department spokesman Capt. John Sharp said. The mother’s body was found about noon Wednesday.
Island visited the home several times after his mother’s death to feed his two half-siblings still inside the residence, Sharp said. He had told them their mother was sick and resting.
The two half-siblings were found unharmed inside the home, Sharp said.
Walker police were notified around noon on New Year’s Day from a family friend who found Wooley’s body in the home, Sharp said.
Wooley, who had multiple gunshot wounds on her body, appeared to have been sitting on a bed when she was shot, but Sharp said police are uncertain if she was sleeping when killed.
Police also are not sure of the origin of the gun used in the shooting, Sharp said.
Detectives learned that Wooley’s black Lexus sedan was missing, as was Island, who lived at the Village Drive home with her.
Island became a person of interest after witnesses said Island might have been driving the Lexus despite not being licensed or authorized to used it, Sharp said.
Authorities continued to look for the Lexus and Island throughout Wednesday night, Sharp said. Walker police and Livingston sheriff’s deputies found Island driving the car just north of Walker around 2 a.m. Thursday.
Police detained Island for questioning, at which point Island confessed to shooting his mother sometime between late Sunday or early Monday, Sharp said.
The half-siblings have been placed in the custody of the Office of Child Services until Wooley’s relatives arrive from out of state, Sharp said.
Police believe Wooley and Island moved to Louisiana from California at least a year and a half ago or maybe two years ago, Sharp said. They’ve been living in Walker for about six months.
Island and Wooley would periodically get into arguments, Sharp said, but none of those arguments ever escalated enough to require police involvement. Island showed no signs of physical abuse.
No criminal records could be found Thursday in the Livingston Parish Clerk of Court’s Office for Island or Wooley.
“From what we can tell, it seems that maybe one of the issues with him was that he wanted to be back in California,” Sharp said.
Neighbors and family members of Wooley and Island either could not be reached for comment or declined to speak when reached by telephone Thursday.
Janson Singh, 17, a senior at Denham Springs High School, said he became friends with Island when Island and Wooley lived at an apartment complex off La. 16 in Denham Springs where Singh also lived.
Island also briefly attended Denham Springs High, Singh said.
Singh said he had only met Wooley a few times but that she was never rude to him. He said he lost contact with Island once Island and his mother moved to Walker.
Island was an easygoing person who never participated in bad behavior like drugs or alcohol use, Singh said.
“I never would have seen this coming,” Singh said. “It’s just unbelievable just how chill the guy was.”
Island, though, had a “really hard life” that included a troubled relationship with his mother, Singh said.
Singh said Island told him that Wooley would not let Island leave his home, though Island did run away one time to a nearby apartment. He said Island told him that at times, Wooley would abuse Island.
But Island also had a tattoo of his mother’s name on his chest, Singh said.
“He never really acted like anything was wrong,” Singh said.
Island had mentioned being from California and said his father would send him money in the mail, Singh said.
“But he (the father) was never really around,” Singh said.
Wooley’s death is believed to be Walker’s first homicide in years.
The Advocate’s archives indicate Walker police in April 2007 arrested Christopher Pell, of Livingston, after he allegedly shot and stabbed his estranged wife, Janah Lynn Stern Pell, 23, while she was working at Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits on Walker South Road. Pell was convicted in October 2008 and sentenced to life in prison.
Police in January 2008 arrested a mother in the August 2007 death of her 15-month-old daughter, Jalaya Allen, but only after the Livingston Parish Coroner’s Office ruled the death a homicide.
The mother, Johnnie Garner, initially told police that a computer monitor had fallen on the child’s head and chest. But investigators determined that Garner’s story did not match the child’s injuries. Garner was sentenced in January 2012 to 12 years in prison.
Walker police also responded in October 2012 to a scene in which a man named Jeffery Reynolds allegedly stabbed his pregnant wife while high on herbal incense at their Milton Road Home. But the Sheriff’s Office took over that case once authorities realized the home was outside of Walker city limits.
“This is not the type of crime we routinely see in Walker, or Livingston Parish,” Walker Police Chief Marliam Lee said in a statement Thursday. “We recognize that such crimes of violence are unsettling within our community.”
“We hope that the public feels some sense of comfort knowing we have the resources available to quickly resolve crimes of this nature,” Lee added.