A 34-year-old Indiana mother was killed over the weekend by her abusive ex-boyfriend — weeks after she asked a judge to dismiss outstanding criminal charges she had filed against him.
Evansville Police confirm that Rachael Feazell was murdered by her ex, Ryan Hopkins, shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday.
After shooting Feazell in her Evansville residence, authorities allege the 46-year-old man turned the gun on himself, ending his own life.
Feazell’s 10-year-old daughter was home during the shootings.
According to the Evansville Courier and Press, the murdered woman called police hours earlier, alleging Hopkins had rammed his truck into her current boyfriend’s vehicle numerous times.
The paper reports that in late October, Feazell wrote a letter to the judge handling Hopkins’ criminal case. Hopkins was arrested in April 2020 and charged with strangulation, domestic battery, and intimidation.
“He held her hostage in his basement,” Feazell’s aunt, Connie Henry, told the paper. “He had a padlock on the outside of the house and cameras in the house connected to his phone.”
In the letter, Feazell asked that the case be dropped.
Jess Powers, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, told the Courier and Press that Feazell had asked the court to drop the non-contact order and “indicated on Oct. 29, 2021 in writing that she no longer wished to pursue charges at this time.”
The Evansville Courier and Press spoke to Feazell’s grandmother, Kelly Griggs, who called Hopkins “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” She said that in October 2020, Hopkins locked Feazell in his basement.
She said Feazell pulled herself through a basement window — cutting herself in several places — to escape.
No matter how bad the abuse got, Feazell would always return to Hopkins, the grandmother said.
“She loved him. We didn’t understand it,” Henry added. “She’d call me (asking), ‘What do I do? What do I need to do?’ and I’d tell her, ‘Leave! You need to leave!’ but she kept going back to him.”
Eventually, she did end the relationship. That did not keep Hopkins away, records show.
Evansville Police responded to a domestic violence call in April involving Feazell and Hopkins.
She had accused Hopkins of punching her in the face, kicking her, pointing a gun at her and stealing her emotional-support dog.
The paper reports Feazell decided not to pursue charges following the April incident.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.