East St. Louis, MO — A Missouri woman was found stabbed to death in her apartment five days after she posted a chilling status update on Facebook.
On November 25, Michelle Rowling wrote, “SOOOOOOOO IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO ME TONIGHT JUST LET MY KIDS KNOW I LOVED THEM DEARLY AND TELL MY MOMMA I LOVE HER.” Rowling explained that she had gotten some bad news, and friends pleaded with her to get help or call the police. The 25-year-old said she would be gone by the time the police came.
Rowling had just learned that her ex-boyfriend, 25-year-old Montrell Cooper, had been released from prison the day of the ominous Facebook post. Cooper had a history of domestic violence with Rowling, having slit her throat on one occasion and beating her up on a second. St. Clair State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly said Cooper was prosecuted for the previous abuse, but Rowling refused to cooperate with authorities.
“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,” Kelly said. “The victim in this case actually testified in favor of the defendant.” Cooper spent a year in jail, and was arrested again in August for assaulting Rowling.
Police found Rowling, a mother of two, stabbed to death in her apartment in the Gompers public housing complex on November 30 after receiving a disturbance call. They released Cooper’s picture to the media and are hoping someone will call authorities if they know where he is.
“We want to catch this guy as quickly as we can. We want to question him about the stabbing death of Michelle Rowling,” East St. Louis police chief Michael Floore said.
Rowling’s mother, Cathy McGolson, said she is at a loss for words at the death of her daughter.
“I don’t know which way to turn,” she said.
Danielle Lane, a second cousin, said she saw Michelle Rowling Thanksgiving day when they met at another cousin’s house.
“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 she had seen Rowling and Cooper together several times, and that he was always quiet and never interacted with the family. She said she learned of his slitting Rowling’s throat two days after it happened last year.
“I didn’t see her for about three weeks,” she said. “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.”
Diane Simmons, Michelle Rowling’s grandmother, said the family is having a hard time making funeral arrangements.
“We are having a horrible time trying to get funds together to pay for her funeral,” she said. “She didn’t have any insurance. I want young people to know they need insurance. Get insurance and leave a will.”
[Photo credit: Michelle Rowling / Facebook]