Family mourns death of woman found dead in Tuscaloosa well

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VANCE, Ala. (WIAT) — Police in Tuscaloosa County made a gruesome discovery this weekend after finding the body of a missing woman from Jefferson County. 

Now, two men are in jail after being charged with allegedly killing her and dumping her body in a well.

On Sunday, investigators with the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit received a tip which led to discovering the remains of Willoe Watkins, 20, at a vacant house in the Vance community. Her body was found at the bottom of a well along Will Walker Lane. 

Jennifer Cox, Watkins’ stepmother, said she is devastated.

“Willoe was the most beautiful special soul I’ve ever known in my entire life. I didn’t know anyone who didn’t love her and didn’t care for her. We want justice for her” Cox said. 

Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit charged Kendal Tyler Battles, 29, and Joseph Nevels, 20, with murder and abuse of a corpse. Jack Kennedy says both men knew the victim and were friends with Willoe Watkins.

“These were friends of hers she was associating with that night and drug usage is heavily suspected. Things took a turn for worse obviously and these gentlemen chose to murder her. It is tragic and very brutal and shows a distinct disregard for the sanctity of life” Lt. Jack Kennedy of the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said. 

Kennedy did not comment on what the motive for the killing was. 

Now, Cox wants justice for her stepdaughter.

“They took away one of the most precious souls in my life I’ve ever known and I hope they get punished to the full extent of the law,” she said. “And if there is anybody else out there who has any information on anyone else who may have been involved please come forward and help our family”.

The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are possible.

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