Emily, Host:0:02Mile Marker 181 is a true crime podcast and may contain discussion of graphic or disturbing details. Listener discretion is advised.
Emily, Host:0:31Welcome back to Mile Marker 181. I'm your host Emily. This episode will be the first time you get to hear Jaleayah's mother Kim speak. I want to be perfectly clear, Kim is the only reason I'm able to do this podcast. After her daughter's death was ruled accidental in 2012, she obtained over 700 pages of documents, hundreds of photos and even some videos through the Freedom of Information Act. You'll hear me refer to this as "FOIA" a lot. Kim has never been deterred by the fact this was ruled accidental and has continued to be an advocate for her daughter. At the beginning of May I got in contact with Kim about my interest in her daughter's case and asked if she was open to the idea of a podcast. I wasn't even sure she would want to speak to a total stranger, but I was happily surprised. She was totally on board... for all of it.
Emily, Host:1:23A week later I had those same case documents and photos in my hands. Kim and I met up at a public library. We didn't even really introduce ourselves. We jumped right into conversation about documents, videos, how I wanted to structure the podcast. She's so focused on justice for her daughter, it's very apparent. I'm not sure what I was expecting, I guess I was expecting someone more broken. I was wrong. Kim might describe herself as broken. I don't know, but I assure you she's a bad ass. I'm amazed by her persistence and willingness to talk about Jaleayah's death. Anyways, enough from me. Here's Kim speaking about the day she lost her oldest child.
Emily, Host:2:13So what happened when you got that call from Taubi? What was your reaction?
Kim Davis:2:20I was asleep. I keep my phone on vibrate and you know, I didn't have any reason to worry because it wasn't like I was expecting a call, so I was sleeping hard. Jaleayah was supposed to be spending the night with Kristin. Taubi had a friend over to spend the night with her and my mom's phone rang. My mom said hello, and she's like, "what? What? Hang on." She said, "Kim it's Taubi." And she had that tone in her voice, like she was kind of worried and she gave me the phone and Taubi was screaming in the phone and I couldn't understand her at first. I said, "what is it Taubi?" And she said, "Jaleayahs dead, Jaleayahs dead!", and I was like Taubi, because I thought maybe Taubi was just, you know, overreacting, what, you know, I had no idea what Taubi had seen where Taubi was at. That Taubi had even left the house. And I said Taubi put somebody else on the phone and she put her friend on the phone and I said "hello." And she said, "Kim, you need to come here. You need to come. Somethings happened." And I just knew, I knew that, you know. After I hung up I went to the bathroom and my mom came in and she said, "what's going on?" And I said, "Taubi said Jaleayah's dead.", and I was just stone cold. And she said, "well, you don't think that's true?" And I just nodded my head. I got dressed and I got a bottle of water and it's probably a 15 minute drive and I remember before I was even halfway there, I had that water finished because I was so thirsty. I think it was just kind of a combination of stress and shock. And I didn't, I didn't speed going there. It was one of those things where you don't want to go there so you're in no particular hurry and there was nothing. I just, I just did not want to go. I don't remember the drive, like the road per se. I just knew I didn't want to get there.
Emily, Host:4:35Did you instantly know instinctually that your daughter was indeed dead?
Kim Davis:4:40Not really. I mean when I got there honestly. Okay. I got up on the interstate and I remember just barely remember seeing her car on the other side and seeing the headlights and then I got up a little farther and there were only two emergency vehicles that I remember seeing. And I think one of them was like near the median. I think the other was a cop car and I pulled up on the right hand side of the interstate and I looked over and I saw a sheet and all I kept thinking was, well, that can't be a body because it's not shaped like a body. And then, um, Taubi was with her friend in her car, and Taubi came and got in my car. I don't even remember where her friend was. I know that's awful, but I just, there's certain pieces like I don't remember. I know my mom was in the backseat of my car behind me and I just kept looking at the white sheet and thinking, well, that's not Jaleayah. Oh my God. You know, what happened? Maybe somebody... I honestly thought it was a friend of Jaleayah's that somebody had hurt and Jaleayah took off running. That Jaleayah was hid somewhere and I tried to convince myself of that until... I remember a cop coming up and questioning Taubi. I remember when I got there too, I ran over to see who it was and they say that there were three EMT's that held me back. I remember two, but I don't remember the third one.
Kim Davis:6:23I remember one of them, he really annoyed me. He, um, he knew who I was and he kept saying, "who are you? Who are you?" I kept saying, "Is that my daughter? Is that my daughter?" And he said, "who are you?" And I said, "Is that Jaleayah Davis?" "ma'am, you're going to have to go back to your car." And I remember trying to get to the white sheet because I mean, it just did not look like a body. And we were sitting in the car and uh, we had to wait there for hours. It was at least two hours. It was, it wasn't daylight yet, but a Coroner comes up to the window and he said, "what we have is an African American female with a white coat" and that's what Jaleayah wore was a white coat and I remember just I couldn't breathe. And some female, I don't know what she was... She came up to the door, an EMT I guess I kept telling her to "call my Dad call my dad." "Ma'am, do you need to go to the emergency room? Do you need to go to the hospital?" I was just, I was just annoyed with anybody talking to me. I just wanted my dad there because in my mind men are strong and he, he's going to fix this. He's gonna. He's gonna make her come back because none of this is true. These people are lying to me. But um, I remember my dad getting there when it was just turning daylight and at one point I saw a state, a state cop car and I never understood why there wasn't more police officers there. You would think there would be a lot of them, you know, there's a dead body in the road. There's blood everywhere, everywhere. When my dad got there, he got actually pretty close. He was over in the median and uh, Brett Pickens stopped him and he could see blood everywhere. And he told him [Brett} "This was a murder. This wasn't an accident, this was murder." Because there was so much blood scattered different places and tissue and bones and stuff, little pieces.
Emily, Host:8:35So I assume officers at some point asked you to describe her to help identify her body?
Kim Davis:8:42Not really, no. The only, um, the only thing they really went by was the fact that Taubi was supposed to meet Jaleayah, that Taubi knew it was Jaleayah. Taubi had actually gotten there when Jaleayah hadn't met her, where they agreed to meet, Taubi got worried and her friend was driving and they got on the interstate to go see if they could find her. And Taubi had seen her sister in the highway before they had covered her up and she tried to run across the median to her and they stopped her. And I remember Taubi telling me it was days, it might've even been weeks after it all happened... I didn't know Taubi had seen her and um, it was, it had to have been weeks and Taubi was in the car with me one night and said that she saw her and she held her hands out like maybe eight inches, 10 inches apart? And she said, "mom, she only looked like she was this wide" and that there was blood in her hair. So I think they went by that and the fact that the white coat, which is what Jaleayah was wearing, we just assumed. So I'd never really... I never really knew that it was her, which is kind of tough because I know it's Jaleayah. I know now after seeing photos that it was Jaleayah, but for a very long time I didn't know because I did not see her laying in the road. The medical examiner had to identify her with teeth and then when they sent her body back we had her cremated, but I was not able to view her body. So I had to take everybody's word for it. Like, yeah, that's my kid.
Emily, Host:10:44Can you kind of summarize the next 24 hours after all of this and what they consisted of?
Kim Davis:10:51I don't remember the drive home. To this day I still do not remember how I got home from the interstate. We were really, we were so tired. And when you cry and you and you go through something like that, it is so draining. I remember wanting to take a nap and Taubi was wanting to sleep and then the lead detective, one of the lead detectives, Camille Waldron had called me and wanted Taubi to come down and do an interview. And that took place for probably, it was probably a couple of hours we were there. I think on day four... I didn't eat for three days. On the fourth day I ate and the same for Taubi. Some people I tell this to, but not a lot... Every morning I would wake up and that would be the hardest and I'm not sure why, but when I got up my breasts ached like a mother who needed to feed her child. And I think it was just the total, what it did to me hormonally from losing her that loss, a mother having the loss and trying to get her child back, take care of her child... but the mornings were absolutely miserable. They were miserable for me and I don't know if it's because I thought maybe I was just going to wake up one day and it wasn't going to be true. I was going to wake up and she was going to come through the door. I, I don't know what it was, but the mornings were the hardest
Emily, Host:12:26And in that first day or two, you were called down to the sheriff's department, correct?
Kim Davis:12:33Within hours yeah. We were called down.
Emily, Host:12:35And there was no way for you to even really begin planning a proper funeral...
Kim Davis:12:42We couldn't do anything because. Okay, my understanding was they took her body to Camden Clark hospital where they had it guarded. Keep in mind, you know, they spent a year investigating this to say it was an accident, but from day one that's all they talked about was she was pinned between her car, she was struck. When they went to get warrants to have her car searched, to send her to Charleston to the medical examiner, the car... All of this had required warrants from a judge. And they said she was pinned between her car, struck with her vehicle. They had a guard outside of Camden Clark. They took her to Charleston. And then I remember I think was on Monday. Camille had called me and asked me, um, what orthodontist she had seen. And I had no idea my daughter did not have a face, that her teeth were on the ground. I remember crying and Jaleayah was so proud of her smile and her teeth because she had a horrible overbite growing up and I had gotten her braces and she acted like... she told me once that was her best gift she ever had from me was her braces.
Kim Davis:14:08I remember crying in the phone telling Camille, "Don't let them touch her teeth. Don't let them touch her teeth." But I actually did not find out that the medical examiner identified my daughter until I read it across the screen on the TV. Nobody bothered to call me and tell me that. I saw it on WTAP on the news, across the bottom of the screen that the medical examiner had identified her.
Emily, Host:14:36And your initial thought was it this was murder. What made you think that?
Kim Davis:14:42Because the day that it happened my Dad had gone to the scene after. After we left, he took my mom to her job so she could explain that she wouldn't, that she was going to take a leave of absence. After he dropped her off at the house, he went and got some cameras, some disposable cameras. He went back to the scene and he took his own pictures. And they never cleaned portions of Jaleayah's remains off of the highway. There was brain matter all over the place. And um, brain matter on the post where her car, where she was pinned, her head went over and that's what killed her, was her head striking the guard rail posts. And he took pictures and he took measurements and he can tell me exactly how far from where her head first hit until where they found her body. He used one of those like sticks that they roll on the ground and it measures distance... I don't know if you know what I'm talking about? But he told me, he said, "it's not an accident this was murder." And my dad would never lie to me about that. He would never mislead me on that. And I knew, I knew he knew. And then he got the photos developed and then he showed me the photos and no, you're not driving your car but somehow on the right hand side of the road, your head is hitting a post. No, you're not found half naked. Your clothes on [the guardrail]. There was just too much information. And then of course it was all over the community. People knew. There were rumors. Um, you could say some people slipped and told the wrong people the wrong things. And it got back to me. I would get anonymous messages on facebook, people saying that, well, I talked to so and so and so and so knows this person. And they said this and the pieces, a lot of the pieces didn't make sense at first. But then they slowly came together.
Emily, Host:16:46Was there ever a point where you thought, hey, maybe this was actually an accident?
Kim Davis:16:51No, never, never, never. It just kept building and building. And some people just kept incriminating themselves. To this day, not a single one of those individuals that was with her that night has come to me and tried to explain to me anything that happened. Not a single one of them and I'm telling you right now, if I was innocent and people were assuming that I did something like this as bad as possibly a homicide... I would be screaming if I. I would be throwing a fit. I would go to whoever is blaming me and say, look, "this and this and this is what happened and I've got this proof and I've got that person and I can show you this and I'm sorry about what happened to your kid." But not even a single parent has told me they're sorry. Not a single parent. Not even the ones that I haven't even mentioned their kid's name more than a couple times. Only because they were with Jaleayah that night, but not because I think they actually did something to her.
Emily, Host:17:53Right. Not because you thought they were involved, but just because they were in the same bar as her that night.
Kim Davis:17:59Exactly, and there's lots of people that know what happened, but they've been told to keep their mouth shut.
Emily, Host:18:04You had a memorial service and asked certain people not to come. Correct?
Kim Davis:18:09Absolutely. I told them, I told people to get the word to these individuals that if they showed up, they would be escorted out. They had no business there. I didn't want to see them pretending to be her friend.
Emily, Host:18:23And you weren't ever really able to say goodbye to your daughter's body, were you?
Kim Davis:18:28No, they um, what we actually did was we were taken into a room where my child was in a body bag, ice cold in a box. She was covered up with a blanket and we got to touch the top of the blanket. And when I touched it, I could tell that pieces... like she was not necessarily put back together, but that she was put in... back together.
Emily, Host:18:54That things weren't where they should be.
Kim Davis:18:55Exactly. Right.
Emily, Host:18:56And you said earlier you did not set up the justice for Jaleayah page.
Kim Davis:19:00I did not.
Emily, Host:19:01So why did you feel the need to keep it going? I mean, how did that come about?
Kim Davis:19:05Some gut feeling, some gut feeling. And then as people started, you know, giving their condolences. And then I was hearing stories about Jaleayah for a while. It was really comforting. And then I realized, you know, because you can send a message to me on that and people started messaging me and then there were things that took place on it and people posting information on it and I just felt that in some way I'm going to need this, I'm going to need this site. I'm gonna need it for something.
Emily, Host:19:36As a tool.
Emily, Host:19:39And was justice for Jaleayah the page, was it met with any protest?
Kim Davis:19:44Oh yeah. Yeah! I never, I forgot all about that. The Sheriff's department did not want me posting on there. They didn't want me saying anything on there. Honest to God, they were upset because. And they told me this, because these kids that were with Jaleayah were receiving death threats.
Emily, Host:20:06Not from you, but from...
Kim Davis:20:08No, from the general public and that their parents are worried for them. Yeah. That's kind of, that's. Yeah. And I'm thinking, you know, my kid's dead, your kid was with them and I haven't so much as heard an explanation from your kid what happened.
Emily, Host:20:25Or any condolences or any, anything.
Kim Davis:20:27Nothing with the exception with the exception... The girl that was with Jaleayah that happened at five...
Emily, Host:20:34You can say her name, it's not.... It's public information.
Kim Davis:20:35That's true. It is. Kristin Bechtold was with my daughter and this took place. This whole incident with Jaleayah, Jaleayah was killed at approximately 3:40 in the morning. That same evening, Kristin Bechtold and a friend, and her dad and her dad's girlfriend at the time, actually went into my place of employment and had dinner.
Emily, Host:21:02Of all the places to choose in the Mid Ohio Valley...
Kim Davis:21:06Uh huh. And the police were called because at the time Kristin had not even given an interview to the police, but she did obtain an attorney. And they [officers] came to where I work and told the person that made the phone call that they could not approach Kristin unless they could see a visible sign that there was an altercation such as scratches on her or bruises, but that they couldn't talk to her because she had a lawyer. And I know the person personally that made the phone call to the cops.
Emily, Host:21:36Yeah, they're your coworker.
Kim Davis:21:38Yeah. So I know they're not lying about that. That's what was said to them by a female officer.
Emily, Host:21:43And I just want to clarify too, um, this was Friday the 18th, overnight into Saturday, the 19th of November. So there's a lot of, you know, a lot of people don't consider it the next day until you've gone to bed and slept. So throughout all of this, you'll hear, oh that day or this day, and I'm going to try to clarify which calendar day it actually was. So Jaleayah was killed early morning of the 19th and Kristin was seen at dinner on the 19th? Later the same calendar day?
Emily, Host:22:16This episode featured Kim Davis, Jaleayah Davis's mother. I want to thank Liv for allowing us to use her recording space. Our intro music is Flowing Bells by Daniel Birch, who I want to give a special thanks to. Background music is Night Caves by Lee Rosevere. We'll see you next time on Mile Marker 181.