On Aug. 1, 2015, 25-year-old Cheyanne Jessie of Lakeland, Florida called police to report missing her father, Mark Weekly, 50, and her daughter Meredith, 6. She was arrested and charged with their murders less than 24 hours later after their bodies were found decomposing in a neighbor’s storage shed.
Here are the latest developments in the Cheyanne Jessie case:
Woman Charged With Murder of Her Father and Daughter
Aug. 2, 2015 – A 25-year-old Florida woman has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder after she called police and reported her father and daughter missing.
Cheyanne Jessie is accused of killing her 6-year-old daughter Meredith and her 50-year-old father, Mark Weekly.
Authorities said the motive for the murders was almost as horrific as the crime itself: the single mother, who works as a cashier at a big-box store, didn’t want her daughter interfering with her relationship with a new boyfriend.
“Nothing’s more horrific than the murder of a child, except when it’s done by a parent, and that’s what we saw,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd at a press conference.
Sheriff Judd became emotional as he displayed Jessie’s mug shot for the media.
“This is the face and this is the eyes of a cold-blooded murderer,” Judd said. “She not only murdered them, but left them in the residence for many days until it became painfully evident she had to move them.”
Judd said Jessie showed no emotion during interviews with investigators and she continued to go to work at a nearby retail store while the bodies of her family members were decomposing.
“We can’t understand in our minds how someone could murder their 6-year-old baby girl and murder their dad,” Judd said.
“But that’s exactly what she did and she showed no emotion.”
Killed on July 18?
From evidence found at the crime scene and the storage shed, and from information gained in interviews with the accused, investigators pieced together the following timeline:
On July 18, Jessie dropped her daughter off at her father’s house. Either later that day or the following day, she got into an argument with her father over the child and she killed both of them.
“Does she think she’s going to lose this boyfriend, which she desperately wanted, because of her daughter?” Judd said. “For whatever reason, not only does she take her daughter to her father but ultimately murders both of them.”
Puts Bodies in Storage Shed
Judd said Jessie returned on July 22, four days later, and used a shovel to remove the decomposing bodies from the house into a Chevy SUV. She put the bodies into bags to hide them, something she learned from watching the television show “Criminal Minds,” she told investigators.
She took the bodies to a storage shed about 200 yards from Weekly’s house that belonged to his landlord. The landlord was vacationing and out of town.
When relatives began to ask questions about the whereabouts of Weekly and Meredith, Jessie began to launch an elaborate missing persons story. She said her father had received a recent diagnosis of cancer and that he ran off to Georgia to spend his remaining months with his granddaughter.
‘Things Don’t Smell Right’
Jessie used her father’s cellphone to text her boyfriend, pretending to be Weekly, saying that he had only a year to live and wanted to spend it with Meredith. In the texts, “Weekly” granted Jessie and her boyfriend permission to take his house and possessions.
But, when Jessie reported all of this to the police, they became suspicious immediately.
“Things don’t smell right. Literally. They don’t smell right,” Judd said.
Judd said at Weekly’s house there was a “foul smell” that Jessie tried to blame on rotting meat left in the kitchen sink and on a dead raccoon under the porch. Police were not able to locate the dead animal.
What they did find, after getting a search warrant, was slash marks on a blood-soaked couch and a rug covering a bloodstained floor. They also found the bodies in the nearby shed.
As the interview continued, Jessie’s story began to change throughout the day, Judd said. She claimed she acted in self-defense.
Jessie told investigators that her father tried to stab her, but she was able to defend herself using martial-arts training that she learned from her new boyfriend’s father. The man later told police that he had no knowledge of martial arts.
“She supposedly gets the knife away from her father after he’s fighting and slashing at her, and accidentally stabs the 6-year-old,” Judd told reporters. “None of the evidence supports any of this.”
Judd said throughout the interview, Jessie did not shed a tear over the deaths of her father and daughter. He said and gun and a knife was used in the murders.
Jessie has a previous arrest in another state for assaulting and boyfriend with a knife.