RACELAND, La. (WGNO) – Two-year-old Ariel Mathieu of Houston, Texas now lives with her grandmother in Raceland, Louisiana. She recently lost her father and mother.
“[Whenever she sees a photo of her mother] She whines. Takita was very close to her baby and her whole world,” said Bernadette Mathieu, Takita Mathieu’s mother.
Ariel’s mother, 26-year-old Takita Mathieu grew up in Raceland. The popular cheerleader and track athlete at Central Lafourche High never had a shortage of friends.
Her funeral at the Morning Star Baptist Church in Houma (where Takita was born) was standing room only. Friends, family and neighbors filled the pews, remembering this young mother.
Takita moved to Houston in 2006. She met Marcus Crocker and they dated for several years. Over time, he became increasingly possessive.
“Like all her friends and family would be around, he would try to keep her from them,” said Bernadette Mathieu.
Takita filed at least 7 complaints about Crocker with Houston police before he killed her.
In 2009, she filled out a victim questionnaire, writing”:
“I am afraid for my life. He has told me that I should leave Texas because he would [expletive] me up, or he would pay someone to do it. He told me that my truck isn’t safe and I am not either…He’s texting me non-stop. I am afraid to go home. He’s going to get me.”
She also wrote:
“He sits and drives past my house and follows me on the freeway.”
“He broke a window on my truck and kicked my door in.”
“He took an electric saw and cut my door to enter.”
Takita ended the relationship at the end of November, but her family says Marcus would not leave her alone, constantly calling, snap chatting and texting threats. Then he started calling Takita’s family, at one point, leaving her mother, Bernadette, a cryptic message:
“I’m like I’m not understanding this message? And he was like, ‘I just want you to keep the baby for a couple weeks and I just want you to be with your grandchild. And love her for me too,'” said Bernadette Mathieu.
In January, Takita reached out to Houston police, complaining about at least 40 harassing texts from Marcus. She went to the police again in February, telling them Marcus called her more than a hundred times. Her sister was with her that day. She says Takita told police she was afraid for her life and needed a protection order immediately. They said they would get back to her in two to three days.
“My daughter told me when they left out of the police department, it was like they didn’t even give a damn. They were like well, you have the papers. Takita asked them, ‘What can I do? Can you just pick him up, can you just arrest him?’ He told her ‘no, he had to do something to her.’ Two hours later he killed her,” said Bernadette Mathieu.
Just hours after leaving the police department, Marcus showed up to Takita’s work. He shot her in the head. Then shot himself.
“I mean he broke her down mentally, she should have left Marcus a long time ago, because I thought he was a monster, but then you know — I didn’t want to push her away,” said Bernadette Mathieu.
Now she wishes she had pushed harder.
“Please protect yourselves and if there’s anything that you feel is not right in a relationship, get some help. Tell somebody and stay on it. Be careful. My child didn’t have to leave like this,” said Bernadette Mathieu.
We reached out to Houston Police. They told us they tried to follow up on some of these reports, but had trouble getting a hold of Takita. Also, Marcus never actually laid a hand on Takita. This made it hard to move ahead with charges. We spoke with Jefferson Parish Sheriff, Newell Normand.
He admitted to us that these cases can be difficult for police:
“I mean, if I wake up tomorrow and I decide I want to take out my significant other, I don’t know that there’s going to be any legislation or protocol or strategy or any of that that’s going to move me or one way or the other. And there’s no reliable predictor tool to determine whether or not that individual has the makeup psychologically to carry out those threats – you never know,” said Sheriff Normand.
Sheriff Normand encourages women to reach out to police, but also to a battered women shelter if you feel like you’re in danger. He also said, cut off communication and change your habits so this person can’t track you down.
Takita’s mother spoke with us because she wants women out there to know, it doesn’t matter if it’s verbal, physical or through technology – Abuse is abuse and you need to get help. Do not wait.
She doesn’t want anyone to suffer like Takita did.