On a warm summer night, the Williams family was operating as normal. Terrena Williams, the matriarch of the household, was at work, daughter Diamond, 16, and son D.J., 13, were at home. Their dad, Damond Williams, who lives just a few blocks from the family, was with his girlfriend and their small children.
Diamond and D.J. were on the front porch of the family home in the 3600 block of Wabash Avenue in West Baltimore when Diamond’s cell phone rang. After the call, Diamond seemed upset, D.J. would later tell his parents and police.
A short time later, she left her house. It is believed to have been the last time anyone in her family saw her alive. A few hours later, concerned that she had not responded to numerous telephone calls and texts, her mother called her father, who advised her to call police. Diamond’s father and a relative began scouring the neighborhood for the teenager. A little more than three hours after Diamond left home, Damond Williams and the relative were searching in the 3000 block of Liberty Heights Avenue, near Salon L, when the relative saw what appeared to be specks of blood on the sidewalk.
A trail of blood led him to a staircase behind the salon. He shined his flashlight toward the base of the stairs and yelled for Damond Williams. At the bottom lay a crumpled mass that appeared to be a body.
Damond Williams dashed down the stairs to find his daughter. Her throat had been cut and she lay in a pool of blood.
“No father should have to see his daughter like that,” Williams said. “I just have that vision stuck in my head. It’s hard to sleep.”
Police said at a news conference on July 19, the day Diamond’s body was found, that the slaying was a murder suicide. Police said that shortly after they were notified by Damond Williams that he had found Diamond’s body, they had responded to a call at a basketball court in the 800 block of Turnbridge Road.
There they found Shaquille “Shaq” Anthony, 19, lying dead.
According to police, Anthony, of the 1200 Silverthorne Road in Northeast Baltimore, had walked onto the court about 1 a.m. and ordered players off. He was planning to kill himself, he announced.
Police said Anthony had tried to date Diamond, but had been shunned. They believe it was Anthony she spoke with and went to meet when she left home. They did not disclose details of the slaying.
In an interview with the AFRO, Damond Williams explained the moments leading up to and after finding his daughter dead.
D.J. told his parents he had tried to stop her, but she yelled at him. “She just told him to leave her alone,” Damond Williams recalled.
He said the family grew concerned when Diamond did not immediately return home. Jeanette Norris, Diamond’s grandmother, said she knew something was wrong when Diamond at first failed to respond to her text messages, then responded in a way that frightened her.
“She responded to my text saying, ‘I’m ok grandma omw [on my way] home,’” Norris read from her phone. She grew concerned because Diamond never called her Grandma, she called her Nana.
Norris responded: “What??? Where are you? Where is mom? U ok?”
Later, after receiving no further response, Norris texted Diamond’s phone again. “Come home. Calling the police!!! Calling ur father.”
Diamond’s parents said they have many questions about their daughter’s death. They are waiting for police to conclude their investigation.
Terrena Williams said she had seen Anthony watching her daughter as she walked home from the bus stop when returning from work at Johns Hopkins, where she was participating in a student nursing program. The rising junior attended Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School. She had celebrated her birthday with a Sweet 16 party on June 25.
Terrena Williams said she had grown so concerned about Anthony, whom Diamond had known since middle school, that she had started watching her walk home from the bus.
As they wait to learn what police will find, they are preparing for their daughter’s home going.
“This hurts,” Terrena Williams said. “We are all trying to get through this the best way we can.”
Diamond’s room, with its turquoise, pink and purple comforter, remains the same way she left it. On the bed lays the pink tiara and pink-and-black sash with the word FABULOUS spelled out in glitter that she wore at the birthday party.
On the walls hang certificates for academic achievement, school pictures and poems, including one penned by Diamond at age 6:
Every Sunday we go to church
And all his children, we love his work
I would keep him to myself, if I could.
But since so many people need him, for now I’ll just be good
So if it’s not for GOD it’s not for me
Because I’m his little angel and he’s my king
He keeps me company day and night
Can you see him? I can. Because we are always in his sight