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Alabama Mom, 8-Year-Old Son Slain By Boyfriend In Suspected Double Murder-Suicide
“I would tell any woman or man: if you’re in an abusive relationship, get out,” Susie Patrick, the aunt of 29-year-old Derika McGhee said.
An Alabama mother and son were found dead following a suspected double murder-suicide allegedly committed by the woman’s longtime boyfriend, police said.
Derika Shanice McGhee, 29 and her 8-year-old son, Aiden Carter Williams, were found dead in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Jan. 6 along with her boyfriend, Darrin Lamar Patton Jr., 34, law enforcement said.
County authorities responded to a home in the 9700 block of Charolais Drive in the Hinton Place subdivision at approximately 3 a.m. following reports of a shooting, according to a Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Department press release.
Multiple witnesses — who had fled the home after gunfire broke out at the residence — told investigators that Patton may have shot his girlfriend following a heated argument. First responders also learned the couple’s 8-year-old child was still inside the residence.
A tactical unit later gained entry to the property and found the bodies of McGhee, her son and Patton. Investigators said the double murders, the first in the county in 2022, appeared to have been a final act of domestic violence by Patton before he died by suicide.
“All signs point to the suspect having killed both victims and then himself,’’ the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com. “We ask that the privacy of the families involved be respected during this terrible and tragic event.”
Local authorities vowed to thoroughly investigate the series of killings, which mark the county’s first homicides in 2022.
“We conduct the exact same investigation that we would had he been captured or be at large or we’re building a case,” Capt. Jack Kennedy also said, AL.com reported. “We’ll do the exact same investigation to the exact same evidentiary standards. We will compile an identical, complete report and it will be submitted to a grand jury to be reviewed as well. Because, just because the suspect is deceased in this particular case, he still committed this crime.”
No additional information was available regarding the open case this week. Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment when contacted by Oxygen.com on Friday.
McGhee’s family, which confirmed news of the double murder-suicide, are reeling following the abrupt deaths of the Alabama mother and son.
"I'm not angry, I'm hurt, I'm very upset," McGhee's father, Tommy Sanders, said in an interview with Tuscaloose Cozi-TV affiliate WVUA. "Because you take another person's life that you didn't have to."
He described her to the station as "an entrepreneur," "an independent Black woman" and an "awesome mom."
Tearing up, he also spoke of his grandson.
"He's just an amazing child, very smart, very intelligent," Sanders said. "What I can take from Aiden... he was a blessing, he was a blessing for me."
“My nephew or sister didn’t deserve it at all man,” the victim's sister, Derrilyn McGhee, wrote of the tregedy on Facebook.
“Still feels unreal,” Derrilyn McGhee said in a separate post.
McGhee’s aunt accused Patton of chronically abusing the 29-year-old Alabama mother in the wake of the killings.
“I would tell any woman or man: if you’re in an abusive relationship, get out,” Susie Patrick told NBC affiliate WSFA in an on-air interview late Thursday morning. “This has been going on for however many years. My niece has been moving from home to home–trying to, quote unquote, ‘get rid of him.’ If you’re in an abusive relationship, man or woman, get out.”
McGhee's father, Sanders, echoed that sentiment in his WVUA interview.
"If y'all have any man that put a hand on a woman, women, y'all need to leave," he said. "Don't think that you are less loved. That's not love."
Attempts to reach McGhee’s family for comment this week by Oxygen.com were unsuccessful.
The Tuscaloosa Batmen, the youth baseball club for which Aiden Williams played, described him as a “sweet” boy and “phenomenal” athlete with a “contagious smile.”
“Aiden was full of life,” family friend Rindy Hodges told Oxygen.com on Friday. “Always smiling, always happy. He never skipped a beat. He truly was such a happy spirited kid.”
Rindy Hodges, who is married to the team’s coach, Steven Hodges, said Aiden was friends with her sons and was a familiar presence in their household.
“We loved having him,” she said. He was a huge part of our team.”
Aiden, who joined the Batmen in July, played second base and outfield for the youth club. Hodges described the young slugger as a “lightning” fast base-runner, Hodges said.
“At the plate, we could always count on him to move his runners,” Hodges added. “He had an amazing power with the bat and almost always was going to hit it to the outfield and run as fast as he possibly could around those bases…we always worried about our lineup because someone slower could not go in front of Aiden. He would always catch them.”
“They have shed many, many tears and are just asking lots of questions,” Hodges explained. “They can’t comprehend why their buddy is no longer with them.”