Less than one week after Michelle Rowling, 25, of East Saint Louis, posted a cryptic Facebook status alluding to her death, she was found fatally stabbed in her apartment and her newly paroled ex-boyfriend, Montrell Cooper, 25, has been arrested in connection with the crime, reports The Belleville News Democrat.
“So, if anything happens to me tonight just let my kids know I loved them dearly and tell my momma I love her,” Rowling posted on Nov. 25 at 9:49 p.m.
On Dec. 1, East Saint Louis police responded to a disturbance call at approximately 9:00 p.m. and discovered the young mother of two stabbed several times on the floor of her apartment, reports KSDK.com.
She was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
In response to concerned friends commenting on her Facebook status, Rowling would share no details other than she had received horrible news. That news was that Cooper had been released from jail where he had been serving time since assaulting Rowling in August, said St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly.
“From what I understand from others in jail with him that was his word, he was going to kill her,” said Rowling’s grandmother Diane Simmons.
The August incident was not Cooper’s first time assaulting Rowling.
In 2012, he served a year in jail for stabbing her in the neck; upon his release, he assaulted her again.
Rowling testified on Cooper’s behalf in the 2012 incident, so he received probation. In a court appearance on Monday, Cooper was released again after Rowling allegedly refused to testify against him.
“We often move forward with charges even when victims are not cooperative, hoping that if they see us standing up for them, they will stand up for themselves,” said Kelly, who had pushed for prison time in both incidents. ”The victim in this case actually testified in favor of the defendant.”
Cooper, who had been on the run in a Black SUV that was later found abandoned, turned himself in to East Saint Louis police Tuesday night and is being held on $200,000 bond.
He has not been charged and is being held on a probation violation.
“We want to question him about the stabbing death of Michelle Rowling,” East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore said.
A candlelight vigil was held on Sunday night for Rowling.
“I don’t know which way to turn,” said her mother Cathy McGloson.
Rowling’s cousin, Danielle Lane, said that Cooper was always “quiet” around their family. When she spoke to Rowling on Thanksgiving Day she said that she was trying to leave him for good.
“She was happy, but she looked worried,” Lane said. “She told me about the domestic abuse with him. She wanted to be with him, but they weren’t getting along, so she was trying to leave him,” Lane said.Rowling and Cooper have a 5-year-old daughter together,
“I didn’t see her for about three weeks. When I saw her, I told her she needed to get out of that relationship because that wasn’t love. I tried to get her to meet up with me and do some things, but she wouldn’t,” Lane said.
“We need to put a stop to women being abused. No matter what your family or friends say or think, speak out. There is always help out there,” Lane said.