Families grieving after two children murdered in Lexington

Police said 43-year-old Nikki James stabbed her two children, 13-year-old Deon Williams and 5-year-old Skyler Williams, to death.
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 4:03 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It’s more than 48 hours later, and a Lexington community is still trying to wrap their heads around the murders of two children. Police said 43-year-old Nikki James stabbed her two children, 13-year-old Deon Williams and 5-year-old Skyler Williams, to death.

The stabbings happened at an apartment on Rogers Road.

The neighborhood is full of children, and parents are now trying to figure out what to tell them.

Loved ones have started a memorial for Deon and Skyler, and mental health counselors are trying to help the communities dealing with these heartbreaking losses.

“After a death, they’re very anxious. Their sense of safety in the world has fallen apart. They’re worried that something might happen to them,” said Leila Salisbury, the executive director for the Kentucky Center for Grieving Children and Families.

How do parents even begin to talk to their young children after their friend and classmate has died? Especially in this case, when police say a 13 and 5-year-old were brutally murdered by their mother.

This is where Salisbury and her team at the Kentucky Center for Grieving Children and Families come in to help.

“We really recommend using concrete language. It’s okay to use words like murdered. If you say things like, ‘the person’s gone onto a better place, or they’ve gone to sleep,’ kids are very concrete thinkers. So suddenly they’re afraid, ‘well if I go to sleep, am I going to die, too?’” Salisbury said.

Salisbury said you don’t need to go into gruesome details, but if your kids have questions about Deon and Skyler, to let them ask those questions and try to answer them as honestly as you can.

“During COVID we have seen the petitions of child abuse and neglect drastically fall. In Fayette County it went from roughly 1,400 to 1,500 a year to right around 900 for this past year,” said Melynda Jamison, the executive director for CASA of Lexington.

Jamison said they can’t speak on the circumstances surrounding the Williams’ murder specifically, but she does say while domestic abuse reports have declined, domestic abuse itself has not.

You can find more information on how to navigate these heartbreaking situations by clicking here.

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