Furious that a teenager recently had a baby with her ex-boyfriend, a West Virginia woman tracked her down and fatally shot her and the infant at point-blank range, Frederick County police said yesterday.
Deanna M. Pritchard, 16, of Walkersville, and her daughter Makayla A. Frost, 5 weeks, died on the Walkersville street where Pritchard reportedly had argued with the woman just before the shootings about 3 p.m. Saturday. Sonya Daniels, 25, of Martinsburg, W.Va., about 50 miles from Walkersville, was arrested at her home yesterday morning. She is being held without bail there on a fugitive from justice warrant pending extradition to Maryland, where she was charged in warrants with two counts of first-degree murder, officials said.
"The world is over," said Glenn Pritchard, Deanna's father. "You couldn't ask for a better daughter. And little Makayla, I only had a chance to know her for five weeks, but I loved her. We all did."
Deanna Pritchard dropped out of Walkersville High School soon after she became pregnant, a friend said. Others said she had had some troubles, but she was committed to being a good mother.
"She's had a bad time in her life, and she really had her own mind about things," said Marielou Holmes, who runs Jesus Loves Kids, an after-school program that Deanna attended. "She was finally happy; she was coming around."
On Saturday afternoon, police said, Daniels pulled up in a green van near Pritchard's home on Discovery Boulevard in Walkersville, a working-class area about eight miles northeast of Frederick city.
Investigators said Daniels demanded to speak to Deanna. After the teenager came out of the house cradling Makayla, the two began arguing in the street. A shot then struck Pritchard in the neck. She dropped Makayla to the pavement. Then, police said, Daniels shot the infant in the face.
Sam Mercado and his daughter were watching television when they heard the gunshots. He ran out to try to help and found Pritchard and her daughter in the street.
"I knew she was dead, but I was hoping" she was still alive, said Mercado, 37.
Glenn Pritchard said he did not know Daniels and was unaware of any previous altercations or threats involving her and his daughter. "To do this, she had to be a maniac," he said, sobbing.
Pritchard said his 10-year-old son witnessed the incident. "My son was right there," he said. "He needs help. He's walking around now not knowing what is up."
Leon Widdowson, a spokesman for the Frederick County sheriff's office, said Deanna Pritchard was romantically involved with Tracy L. Frost, 30, Daniels's former boyfriend. Frost, 30, Makayla's father, is in a Hagerstown jail on unrelated charges, said Scott Rolle, state's attorney for Frederick County.
"We're still investigating, but it seems to be about some jealousy," Rolle said. No weapon had been recovered yesterday, but police seized Daniels's van, which witnesses said they saw at the scene, Rolle said.
The circumstances of the incident -- shots followed by reports of a van speeding away -- made some neighbors first think of the sniper responsible for 12 recent shootings in the region. In a statement issued late Saturday, the Frederick County sheriff's office said the shooting was unrelated.
Pritchard said the family is trying to raise money to bury his daughter and granddaughter and to help the family's other children. Family friends have established an account at a local bank.
Staff writer Jamie Stockwell contributed to this report.