Police found a pregnant woman shot in a neighborhood in Asheville, North Carolina, just two weeks after she had testified against her ex-boyfriend accused of killing another expectant mother.
Tiyquasha Antwonique Simuel, the pregnant 24-year-old, died, but doctors were able to save her baby, according to multiple reports.
Simuel had just been allowed to return home after testifying in the murder trial of her ex-boyfriend, Nathaniel Dixon, WSPA reports. Dixon is on trial in Asheville after authorities accused him of murdering a pregnant woman and trying to kill her 3-year-old son in May 2016, according to the TV station.
Candace Pickens and her son were found shot at a playground in Asheville, according to WLOS. Pickens did not survive, and her son lost an eye in the shooting, prosecutors said late last month in the first day of the murder trial, WLOS reports.
Simuel testified against Dixon in the murder trial on May 31, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.
She told jurors that she and Dixon had been together the night Pickens was killed and that they took an unplanned trip to Ohio together the next day, according to the newspaper. Dixon was arrested in Ohio the day after the killing, the Citizen-Times reports.
Less than two weeks after Simuel testified against her ex-boyfriend, Asheville police say they found her “suffering from multiple gunshot wounds” on June 12.
The Buncombe County District Attorney told the judge about the killing Thursday, according to a press release. The judge “subsequently issued appropriate orders to protect individuals who are involved with the trial,” according to the DA’s release.
“In late May, Ms. Simuel testified in the trial of State v. Nathaniel Dixon,” the Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams confirmed in the press release.
“Ms. Simuel was released from the subpoena obligating her to be available to provide testimony late last week and was free to return to her most recent residence,” the release said.
In a statement, Simuel’s family said, “We thank our family, friends, and the community for the thoughts and prayers on the passing of our daughter and for the well-being of our grandson. We ask that our privacy be respected at this time as we grieve the loss of our daughter. No fundraising pages have been established by the family at this time,” WLOS reports.