The 34-year-old Walker woman found dead in her town house Wednesday was described by her boss as a kind and gentle soul who had trouble controlling her 17-year-old son, the boy who police have accused of killing his mother.
Shonda Boudet, owner of Always Best Care Senior Services in Baton Rouge, said Tamila Wooley — whose body was found about noon Wednesday at her Village Drive home — worked diligently and was beloved by her elderly clients.
“This was a very loving and very compassionate woman who gave of herself to elderly and seniors here in the Baton Rouge and surrounding communities,” Boudet said.
Boudet said she never met Wooley’s son Eddie Robert Island III but Wooley would talk about the problems her teen gave her.
“He was a troublemaker,” she said. “She wasn’t able to control him.”
A family member of Wooley’s reached by phone Friday said the family would not comment because they are still grieving.
Island, 17, 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. He remained jailed without bail as of Friday evening.
Police believe Island shot Wooley at their home — a town house in the Village Maison gated community off Walker South Road — between late Sunday and early Monday and left his mother’s body there for at least two days.
Island visited the home several times after his mother’s death to feed his two half-siblings still inside the residence. He had told them their mother was sick and resting, police have said.
The two half-siblings were found unharmed and have been placed in the custody of the Office of Child Services until Wooley’s relatives arrive from out of state, police have said.
Police and friends of Island have said the 17-year-old had a contentious but never violent relationship with his mother.
Island and Wooley would periodically get into arguments, police have said, but none of those arguments ever escalated enough to require police involvement. Island showed no signs of physical abuse.
A friend of Island’s has said that Island said his mother would never let him leave the house and had abused him, but Boudet said that’s not the case at all. She said Wooley cared deeply for her son but that he was too difficult to handle at times.
Wooley talked about trying to persuade the teen’s father to house their son for a while because she felt she could no longer care for him properly because of his behavior, Boudet said.
But his father was not in the picture, Boudet said.
“She was at her wits end about what she was going to do about her son,” Boudet said.
Wooley had worked as a care provider for Always Best Care Senior Services, an in-home elderly care organization, since September 2011, after moving from California to Louisiana.
Wooley won over her clients’ admiration with her loving care, Boudet said.
“It wasn’t just a job to Tamila,” Boudet said. “She truly enjoyed and had a passion for helping other people.”
Wooley was scheduled to work the night she was shot, Boudet said. Staffers became concerned when the reliable Wooley didn’t report for her shift.
Co-workers later heard of Wooley’s fate from news reports.
“Everyone was just in a sense of shock,” Boudet said. “When we found out, it was almost like what we were reading was surreal.”
Children of Wooley’s clients have called Always Best Care “overwhelmed with grief” after hearing of Wooley’s death, Boudet said.
“They remembered her to be so wonderful with their own parents,” Boudet said. “One in particular called crying.”
Boudet said her company will make sure Wooley’s final paycheck ends up in the hands of Wooley’s other children.
Boudet said she and her fellow workers are devastated for Wooley and her family — even her 17-year-old son accused of shooting her.
“Something had to have been broken in his heart pretty badly to have gone to the length that he did,” Boudet said.
Police believe one of Island’s issues with his mother was his desire to move back to California, police have said.
Wooley said little about her life in California, Boudet said.
But court records from San Bernardino County, Calif., where Wooley and Island used to live, indicate Wooley and Island had a troubled relationship with Island’s father, Eddie Robert Island Jr.
Court records show Island Jr. was arrested on Jan. 4, 1998, by San Bernardino police on counts of corporal injury to a spouse against Wooley, as well as a count of willful cruelty to his son, who was 1 year old at the time.
A misdemeanor complaint filed against the elder Island says he “did willfully cause and permit the person and health of said child to be injured, and did willfully cause and permit said child to be placed in such a situation that its person and health may be endangered.”
The complaint does not say whether the elder Island actually struck his son.
The elder Island pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 36 months of probation, including no contact with Wooley.
Court records also show the elder Island was arrested on Nov. 14, 1999, on a count of corporal injury to spouse after he allegedly hit Wooley again.
Island pleaded guilty and was again sentenced to 36 months of probation, which included anger management classes.