Friends mourn teen mother, infant

Two shot outside door of Frederick home

woman, 25, being held

October 22, 2002|By Stephanie Desmon | Stephanie Desmon,SUN STAFF

WALKERSVILLE - In a townhouse community where residents can't remember a shooting, let alone a killing, on its quiet cul-de-sacs, neighbors-turned-witnesses spent yesterday helping with funeral arrangements for a 16-year-old girl and her 5-week-old baby gunned down in front of their home Saturday afternoon as other children played nearby.

Authorities have arrested Sonya Marie Daniels, who they say is a longtime girlfriend of the baby's father and had recently been dumped by him. She is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Police say Daniels drove a green minivan into the neighborhood, attempted to kidnap mother and child, and then shot them each in the head - first Deanna Marie Prichard, then the infant, Makayla Ann Frost.

Daniels, 25, was arrested Sunday in Martinsburg, W.Va., where she had recently moved, and was extradited to the Frederick County Adult Detention Center yesterday. She is to appear today in Frederick County court for a bail hearing.

"Neither one of them had a chance," neighbor Lawrence Holmes said of the victims. "It was an execution."

Many children in the neighborhood on the outskirts of tiny Walkersville were outside Saturday afternoon - and are among the witnesses to the shootings. Deborah Frey's son, Zachary, 13, is one of them.

"Every time he's closed his eyes, he could see it happening again," she said. "What a harsh scene for his little brain. It's something that will not go away. He has said that quite a few times - `It's something I'll never forget.' "

On Saturday, Prichard and her mother, Patricia Collins, took Makayla to visit the baby's father, Tracy L. Frost, 30. Frost is in the Washington County Detention Center, where he has been awaiting trial on drug charges since about two weeks before his daughter was born.

After Prichard, her mother and the baby returned to their home on Discovery Boulevard, about 5 miles outside the city of Frederick, police say, Daniels got out of her van wearing a ski mask. When Prichard refused to get inside the van, police say, Daniels killed the teen and the infant.

Family members, however, say Prichard and Makayla were inside the house and Prichard's 9-year-old brother was outside when Daniels, not yet wearing the mask, asked him to go and get his sister. She told him she was Frost's sister and wanted to see her new niece. Mother and child were shot when they went outside, the relatives say.

Police say that two weeks earlier, Daniels had gone to see Frost in jail.

"Frost stated that during the visit he told Sonya that he didn't want her to visit any longer," according to court papers. "He told her he wanted to break it off with her. He stated that Sonya was very upset by this and stated to him, `You'll never see your baby again.' "

Friends say Prichard had never mentioned any contact with Daniels. But Prichard's aunt, Mary Ford, said Daniels had told her niece to stay away from Frost.

Prichard had stopped attending Walkersville High School after her pregnancy became obvious and her classmates started teasing her, friends said.

"She had a rough life when she was younger, but this baby made her change for the better," said Jarah Holmes, 24, a waitress who lives around the corner. "She started loving herself again.

"We were talking about maybe getting our nursing degrees together," Holmes said. "I'm definitely doing it now."

Glenn Prichard, 35, Deanna's father, stood on Discovery Boulevard yesterday, his chin quavering as he tried to hold back tears.

"My family needs a lot of help," he said. The father of four is unemployed and said he didn't know how he would pay for the funeral.

He said he needs money (friends have set up a memorial fund at a local bank), but also blessings and prayers.

"The funeral isn't the end," he said. "The end is a long, long time to come."

As he was talking, Michael Lake, a chaplain from the county's volunteer fire and rescue association, approached and told him that the funeral costs would be covered by a victims' compensation fund.

He offered to perform the service if needed. "The community's coming together," Lake said. "This is what we're supposed to do."

A makeshift memorial - complete with poems, pictures, handmade crosses, stuffed animals and candles that friends kept relighting as a brisk wind blew them out - has sprouted not far from the pavement where Deanna and Makayla died.

A steady stream of visitors drove by. Many stopped, incredulous that anyone would shoot a baby.

"I still sit up at home and think [Deanna Prichard] will pop over the hill any minute with that blue stroller," said Jennifer LaForce, 18, as she held her 3-year-old daughter on her right hip.

"It's hard to believe," LaForce said. "It's like she's going to come out of the door any second and say, `What in the heck are you doing? Why didn't you come get me?' "

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