April Elaine Kirby PhillipsBirth: September 1, 1982
October 11, 2008
No obituary found.
Burial: Sunset Memorial Park, Midland City, Dale County, Alabama, USA
San Antonio Express-News
Express-News Staff - Nov. 2, 2008
April Phillips insisted that she led an idyllic life as an Army wife who cared for her 2-year-old son while her husband worked at a San Antonio military hospital.
Her mother, Beth Peters, hoped it was true, but she suspected her daughter - who had a troubled past with drugs in her native Alabama - was putting up the same front Peters had seen before.
On Oct. 11, about two weeks after their last telephone conversation, Phillips, 26, was found beneath an East Side bridge, clad in a T-shirt and shorts and dead from a gunshot wound to the back of her head.
"I should have just gotten on a plane, hog-tied her and forced her to come back home," Peters said, "but she was an adult, and there's only so much you can do with grown children."
The case remains unsolved, and Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.
Samantha McConnell, a resident who lives near the crime scene on Larry Street, said she awoke to the sound of gunshots about 8 a.m. She looked outside her window and saw Phillips' body facedown on an eroded embankment, amidst refuse and other debris beneath the Walters Street bridge.
"It haunts me every day," McConnell said. "It looked like she was trying to run away."
It initially appeared to authorities that Phillips had been the victim of a carjacking, as her Jeep Cherokee was found abandoned days later at a different location. But as the investigation continued, police said they learned that Phillips' death could have been related to drugs.
Fort Sam Houston, where Phillips and her husband lived, is about a quarter-mile from where her body was found, so police have surmised that Phillips might have wandered into the East Side to purchase drugs.
Phillips may have been craving a heroin fix, relatives said, because her husband was enrolled in a drug rehabilitation facility on Oct. 10, the same day the couple lost custody of their 2-year-old son.
On Oct. 9, while the husband was in rehab, a Child Protective Services worker and military police visited the couple's Fort Sam residence to check on the welfare of their toddler, said Kevin Stewart, the uncle of Phillips' husband.
"They found obvious evidence of drug use, so they told April that Child Protective Services would take the child if she did not get a family member to pick him up," Stewart said.
CPS' San Antonio spokeswoman Mary Walker said she could not comment on the case. The military also declined to comment on the investigation.
On Oct. 10, Stewart's wife and sister arrived in San Antonio to get temporary custody of the child.
"April told us that she and (her husband) had a serious problem, and that she was going to check into a rehab that night," Stewart said.
Military police had even threatened to detain her to ensure she enrolled in rehab, but they decided against it because she was a civilian, Stewart said.
"None of us knew these two were so heavily involved in this stuff," Stewart said. "This is a tragedy because two children (Phillips had a 7-year-old son from a previous relationship) won't have a mother."
Peters flew to San Antonio last week with a friend to encourage anyone with information about the homicide to contact Crime Stoppers at (210) 224-STOP or (800) 233-7867.
"She was a loving mother and an extremely loyal friend," Peters said. "I just want people to know that she was truly a good person who made some mistakes."
While driving to the crime scene Thursday, the sight of a young woman panhandling for change haunted Peters.
"I wanted to tell her, 'Give me your momma's phone number so I can tell her where you are before you end up dead under a bridge,'" Peters said.
Peters never spoke to the woman, but she encourages other parents who have concerns about their adult children to follow their instincts and get help.
"If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, move on it quickly," she said.
Soon after Phillips' husband enlisted in the Army, the couple relocated to San Antonio in 2007. She told her mother that she had experienced marital troubles soon after the move.
Peters said she offered her Dothan, Ala., home as a refuge for Phillips and her son, but her daughter said she was determined to make her marriage work in San Antonio.
"I kept telling her I would go fly to San Antonio and get her," she said, "but she insisted everything was fine."
Alli Mechanic - Nov. 1, 2013
It has been years since April Phillips was killed, but her mother still smiles when she thinks of her.
“April was very enthusiastic, charismatic, she always just larger than life she had a huge laugh, raspy voice she was only 5 feet tall but when she entered a room you knew it she caught everyone’s attention I guess you could say,” explained April’s mother, Beth Peters.
This past October marked the five year anniversary of Phillips’ death. She was shot five times in the back of head by Quinton Cox. He was convicted in 2010 and is currently serving a 55 year sentence but April’s mother says there is more to the story.
“Quinton Cox is the shooter, no doubt about that, no doubt about that. but there is more to what she was doing in that area, who was looking for her and the reasons why and we have been finally able to connect that after five years of going through mounds of paper work and getting records from everywhere that we could,” said Peters.
After contacting authorities in San Antonio with her findings, Peters is planning on returning to the city where her daughter was killed to get the justice she believes April deserves.
“I was first told that we were not going to go back there, that we weren’t going to do this. You know they have hundreds of homicides just in the city alone every year and it is a done deal and so we just kept pushing forward and going to different entities to listen to us. We found some people that will listen to us so we will just see what will happen,” said Peters.
Peters says that even after all of their work she knows that they still may not get the justice they are looking for but she remains positive “We are hopeful that we will get a grand jury indictment against at least two people. I wouldn’t want to say who those two people are right now but that is what we are hopeful for,” said Peters. “With that we could get some peace.”
For safety reasons Peters would not say when she was going to San Antonio but she did explain that her ideal outcome would be for those involved in the murder of her daughter to be charged accordingly.
Oct. 29, 2008
Beth Peters may have been hundreds of miles away, but she knew something was wrong.
Peters hadn't talked with her 26-year-old daughter, April Phillips, in three weeks.
On Oct. 14, Peters' worst fears were confirmed. The body of her eldest daughter, who was a mother of two, was found underneath a bridge on the city's east side.
"At first, I didn't believe it at all," Peters said in an interview Monday with KSAT 12 News.
Police said that Phillips was shot to death and most likely it was drug-related.
"She was in way over her head," Peters said. "She had convinced me that everything was going well, but she was that type of person that would cover up things going on that were bad in her life."
Peters flew in from Alabama in hopes of finding out more information about her daughter's death. She visited the bridge where her daughter was found. Peters admits it was difficult, but felt it was something she had to do.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case.
Peters said a tip may help solve the case and provide her with closure.
"It might be the one piece of the puzzle we need to put it all together," she said.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 210-224-7867.