Store clerk texted friends to say she 'didn’t feel safe' at work. An hour later, she was killed

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By James Kay

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A clerk in a gas station messaged her friends fearing for her safety while she was working the night shift, and she tragically lost her life an hour later.

Tava Woodard, 23, began her shift at Roadrunner Market in Johnson City, Tenn, at around midnight after being dropped off by her friend, as reported by PEOPLE.

The shift on June 2 got off to an unnerving start as the store was hit by petty shoplifters and she texted her mom and friends that she felt unsafe and wanted to find a new job.

Shortly after, two men entered the store and demanded to have the money from the cash register. Woodard complied with their demands, but then the men allegedly proceeded to murder her.

Her mother Melissa Jones, 45, spoke to PEOPLE, saying: "From what I’m hearing none of them [the staff] were feeling very safe - this is all over the place so I’ll go ahead and say it. All of her coworkers have stated that the panic button under the counter wasn’t working - and wasn’t even hooked up."

Authorities revealed that a father and son were arrested on Tuesday in connection with her death, after entering the store "covered head to toe" and ultimately murdering the 23-year-old.

"I won’t get into specifics, but the police have told me that she was very calm, very composed and that they were amazed at hearing how old she was and how well she maintained her composure and calmness," Jones added.

Woodard had turned 23 just a week before she was killed, and following her death the community in the Appalachian mountains have rushed to support the family.

Jones said: "I’ve gotten so many messages and phone calls from people that cared about her, that talk about how wonderful she was and what a bright light she was for them."

She revealed that her daughter "always had a smile on her face" and that she was a comforting presence to be around.

Woodard was an outspoken activist for human rights and was highly supportive of her brother who has Asperger's Syndrome, always ensuring that he was safe at school and at home.

As reported by WJHL, Johnson City Police Chief Billy Church said: "In my almost 30 years of law enforcement experience, this case is one of the most heartbreaking that I’ve come across."

The accused killers have been named by Washington County Sheriff as 41-year-old Mark Anthony Sexton Jr and his 18-year-old son Mark Anthony Sexton III.

Both men were charged with first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery while the father had driving an unregistered vehicle added onto his charges, and the 18-year-old had possible firearm commission of dangerous felony and tampering with evidence added on.

Following Woodard's death, a GoFundMe page has been set up in order to support her family and the funeral costs, which is set to take place on June 10.

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Credit: GoFundMe

Out of the intended $100,000 goal, $34,300 has been raised by 658 donors as people have flocked to offer their support following the devastating ordeal.

Our thoughts are with Woodard's family at this time.

Featured image credit: kali9 / Getty

Store clerk texted friends to say she 'didn’t feel safe' at work. An hour later, she was killed

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

A clerk in a gas station messaged her friends fearing for her safety while she was working the night shift, and she tragically lost her life an hour later.

Tava Woodard, 23, began her shift at Roadrunner Market in Johnson City, Tenn, at around midnight after being dropped off by her friend, as reported by PEOPLE.

The shift on June 2 got off to an unnerving start as the store was hit by petty shoplifters and she texted her mom and friends that she felt unsafe and wanted to find a new job.

Shortly after, two men entered the store and demanded to have the money from the cash register. Woodard complied with their demands, but then the men allegedly proceeded to murder her.

Her mother Melissa Jones, 45, spoke to PEOPLE, saying: "From what I’m hearing none of them [the staff] were feeling very safe - this is all over the place so I’ll go ahead and say it. All of her coworkers have stated that the panic button under the counter wasn’t working - and wasn’t even hooked up."

Authorities revealed that a father and son were arrested on Tuesday in connection with her death, after entering the store "covered head to toe" and ultimately murdering the 23-year-old.

"I won’t get into specifics, but the police have told me that she was very calm, very composed and that they were amazed at hearing how old she was and how well she maintained her composure and calmness," Jones added.

Woodard had turned 23 just a week before she was killed, and following her death the community in the Appalachian mountains have rushed to support the family.

Jones said: "I’ve gotten so many messages and phone calls from people that cared about her, that talk about how wonderful she was and what a bright light she was for them."

She revealed that her daughter "always had a smile on her face" and that she was a comforting presence to be around.

Woodard was an outspoken activist for human rights and was highly supportive of her brother who has Asperger's Syndrome, always ensuring that he was safe at school and at home.

As reported by WJHL, Johnson City Police Chief Billy Church said: "In my almost 30 years of law enforcement experience, this case is one of the most heartbreaking that I’ve come across."

The accused killers have been named by Washington County Sheriff as 41-year-old Mark Anthony Sexton Jr and his 18-year-old son Mark Anthony Sexton III.

Both men were charged with first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery while the father had driving an unregistered vehicle added onto his charges, and the 18-year-old had possible firearm commission of dangerous felony and tampering with evidence added on.

Following Woodard's death, a GoFundMe page has been set up in order to support her family and the funeral costs, which is set to take place on June 10.

size-full wp-image-1263215209
Credit: GoFundMe

Out of the intended $100,000 goal, $34,300 has been raised by 658 donors as people have flocked to offer their support following the devastating ordeal.

Our thoughts are with Woodard's family at this time.

Featured image credit: kali9 / Getty