FREEPORT (WIFR) -- The mother of the Freeport woman killed in April following a domestic dispute says her daughter tried a year ago to get away from her boyfriend. Melissa Nickel’s mother says she’s doing her best to mourn her daughter while also unexpectedly raising her granddaughter.
There’s no shortage of family photos at Linda Graham's house, especially ones of her daughter Melissa Nickel. A month after Nickel’s death, Graham still struggles to cope with her daughter’s sudden death. The 31-year-old mother of two was killed in April, allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend.
"I just want to know why. If you really love someone, walk away,” says Graham. “Life is not worth that; I don't know why he would have even wanted to do something like that to such a sweet mom and a beautiful lady."
Investigators charged 31- year-old Kevin Scott with the murder. He has pled not guilty. Detectives say on April 8, 2014, Scott shot Nickel in the head in front of her house in the 600 block of West Elk Street. Scott ran away from officers but ended up getting shot in the leg. According to Nickel’s mother, the pair had been dating for about 2 and a half years and from the beginning it was a rocky relationship.
"She really wasn't open to me about what was going on, but I kind of thought something was going on because she kept moving a lot. I don't know if she was afraid for her safety and that's why she kept going back," says Graham.
Court records show Nickel filed an order of protection against Scott a day before she was killed. Her mother says Nickel had also fire an order of protection against him a year ago but dropped it. The document filed in early May stated that states that the weekend before the she died, Scott took Nickel to Krape Park and held her at knifepoint for five hours. The document also said Scott had hit both of Nickel’s children.
Graham isn't the only struggling to understand this loss. Nickel’s 14-year-old daughter now lives with Graham and must deal with a pain no teenager should have to face. Graham says at least she can be there for her granddaughter to provide some support in their shared grief.
"I think it’s a good bond for both of us. We are going to have rough days ahead of us but were going to make it through this," says Graham. “She was a great person, and had lots and lots of friends. She would have done anything for anyone; she would have given the shirt off her back."
Graham says her daughter enjoyed her work as a certified nursing assistant and had a passion for traveling. She and her girls went to the Wisconsin Dells a few short weeks before the murder and snapped a few family photos on the trip.
Graham and other friends of Nickel are organizing a memorial benefit on August 16. Graham says her daughter didn’t have life insurance and she’d like to put away from money for her granddaughter’s college education. That event will be August 16 at the Freeport Eagles Club on Galena Avenue.