Police: 3 dead, including tot, in Manchester Twp. murder-suicide
A child-custody dispute over 3-year-old Kelly Williams ended in tragedy over the weekend when her father fatally shot her and his own mother then turned the gun on himself inside their Manchester Township home, police said.
Northern York County Regional Police said Frankie Thomas Williams, 21, and his mother, 50-year-old Tammy June Williams, made the murder-suicide pact together, and he carried it out.
Investigators have determined the double murder-suicide was in response to Kelly's mother filing for full custody of the girl, according to Lt. David Lash.
"There was written correspondence left" that confirmed why Frankie and Tammy Williams decided to kill Kelly and themselves, and the correspondence answered other questions police might otherwise have had about the incident, Lash confirmed.
Community in disbelief: Bonnie Coverstone said she heard sirens around 11 p.m. Sunday from her home a block away, but she assumed police were responding to an accident on Greenbriar Road or to the nearby retirement home.
Coverstone said the reported murder-suicide is the worst thing to happen in the neighborhood in the 21 years she has lived there.
Neighbor John Connelly said he saw about eight police cars around 11 p.m. Sunday outside the Williams’ home, but he said he did not know what had happened until searching for the news Monday morning.
John Connelly and his wife, Alice Connelly, said they were in disbelief about the murder-suicide and said they had no suspicion that there was anything wrong at the house that can be seen from the back of their home.
“You read the news, and you hear news stories, but you don’t think that’s going to happen in your neighborhood, much less across the street,” Alice Connelly said.
John Connelly said it was “tragic” that Frankie and Tammy Williams decided to take their lives and the life of Kelly Williams.
“That poor little girl certainly didn’t make any decision,” John Connelly said.
John Connelly said he only saw his neighbors a few times in the two or three months they had been on Greenbriar Road, and he said they mostly kept to themselves.
Frankie and Tammy Williams looked unhappy when he saw them, John Connelly said, but he figured that they were busy moving their belongings into the home and trying to settle in.
John Connelly said he noticed Kelly going into the house over the weekend but never imagined it would be the last time he would see her.
Alice Connelly said she is still trying to process what happened at the home she “practically grew up in” when her uncle owned it years ago, and she said it was “surreal” to overlap her childhood memories with the tragedy that occurred there.
“You think you’re safe all the time, and you don’t know what’s happening next door,” Alice Connelly said.
20-gauge shotgun: It's not clear whom Frankie Williams killed first — his daughter or his mother, according to the lieutenant, who said both suffered gunshot wounds to the head.
Kelly was found in her bedroom, on her bed, and Tammy Williams was found on a couch in the living room, Lash said.
Frankie Williams was found in a separate bedroom, where he shot himself in the head using the 20-gauge shotgun he'd wielded on his child and his mother, police said.
York County Coroner Pam Gay said Kelly died instantly from her wound. No autopsies are planned, she said.
All three were pronounced dead in their 762 Greenbriar Road home at 11:44 p.m. Sunday, according to a news release from the York County Coroner's Office.
Gay said she's hoping to have a better idea about time of death soon.
Kelly's mother: Northern Regional officers were sent to the Williamses' home to conduct a welfare check at the request of Kelly's mother, who lives in North Carolina, according to Lash.
The woman said she was supposed to meet the Williamses on Saturday at a home in Virginia to exchange custody of Kelly, he said. Lash said Frankie Williams shared custody of Kelly with the girl's mother and that the two parents had regular custody exchanges.
Officers found the house dark and got no answer at the door, but a dog inside moved a curtain enough for an officer to spot Tammy Williams on the couch, suffering from injuries, according to Lash.
At that point, officers forced their way inside and found all three Williamses dead, he said.
The family's two dogs are being cared for at the York County SPCA, Lash said.
"They hadn't lived at the (Greenbriar Road) address for very long," he said. "Their prior address to this was in York City, but they originally were from Missouri."
Frankie and Tammy Williams still had Missouri license plates on their vehicles, Lash said.
Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call Northern Regional Police at 717-292-3647. Or leave a tip online at nycrpd.org.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.