The Washington Post

An Alabama aunt posed as a fictional boy on Facebook and caught her niece in an alleged family-murder plot

(Tuscaloosa County Sheriff) Marissa Williams (Tuscaloosa County Sheriff)

An Alabama teenager has been arrested after allegedly plotting to have her family killed — a scheme that was discovered by her own aunt, who was posing as a boy on Facebook to see what her niece was up to online.

Marissa Williams, 19, is charged with the solicitation of murder, according to according to

Williams had been living in her aunt’s house since April, according to television station WIAT, but their relationship had become strained: According to court documents cited by WIAT and, after the unnamed aunt asked Williams to stop socializing with strangers she’d met online, Williams blocked her aunt on Facebook to keep her from monitoring her activity.

The aunt created a fake profile for one “Tre Topdog Ellis” and befriended her niece, a ruse reminiscent of the popular MTV show about online deceivers, “Catfish”. But, says “The experiment soured quickly.”

According to court documents, Williams began unknowingly talking to her aunt, posing as Ellis, in late May, and on the first day they interacted online, she gave the fictional boy her phone number and home address and asked him to come over and get drunk with her. She then offered to have sex with him if he’d pay her $50 cell phone bill.

Days later, Williams allegedly told the man she knew as Ellis that her family made her angry and that she wanted to get out of Alabama. She then asked the man she’d never met to come kidnap her and take her away from her family. According to the deposition, Williams told ‘Tre’ to shoot and kill her aunt if she tried to stop him.

Her plans reportedly got increasingly intricate and sinister as time passed.

According to court documents cited by, Williams instructed the fictional stranger to enter her aunt’s bedroom to kill the woman and her fiance, along with a cousin and the family dog.

What happened next shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, reports: “When she read what Williams was asking the fictional boy to do, the aunt called the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and asked for help.”

According to WIAT, when sheriff’s deputies interviewed Williams, “she was apologetic for the messages she sent. She claimed she didn’t mean it.”

She is being held in the Tuscaloosa County Jail on a $30,000 bond.

Abby Phillip is a national political reporter for the Washington Post. She can be reached at On Twitter: @abbydphillip

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