COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A Columbia woman died at a hospital after suffering severe spinal injuries and internal bleeding when she was pushed from a Highway 63 bridge Tuesday, according to court documents.
The Columbia Police Department identified the woman as Kaylen Ann Schmit, 24, of Columbia, after notifying her next of kin Wednesday morning. She died hours after she was found in a wooded area off Highway 63 on Tuesday night and police say they arrested the man who pushed her on suspicion of murder.
Police found Schmit at about 6:45 p.m. near Clark Lane after a call of a man throwing a woman from a bridge on Highway 63.
A police spokesman said officers arrested Jessie R. Williams, 31, of Columbia, and he was charged with first-degree murder.
"She was provided extensive advanced trauma care, but sadly, died hours later," Columbia Police Department spokesman Christian Tabak said in a video released Wednesday morning.
Schmit fell about 38 feet from the bridge, police said in a probable cause statement. Police found Williams about 20 minutes later near Sam's Club on Conley Road, the statement says.
A witness told police they saw Williams and Schmit in a nearby homeless camp arguing before the incident, according to the statement. The pair were fighting over Schmit's belongings, the witness said.
Another witness told police she had seen Williams and Schmit walking on the overpass. Another witness said he saw Williams grabbing Schmit's legs to throw her over the guardrail and that he was "100% no doubt trying to kill her," according to the statement.
Police say Williams answered questions indicating he pushed Schmit from the bridge because he had mental issues and was sick. However, the statement does not say Williams directly confessed.
Williams was on parole for the August 2018 stabbing of a homeless man, Tabak said. He was back in Missouri Department of Corrections custody on Wednesday, a department spokeswoman said. He was previously in prison from December 2019 until Aug. 8 this year.
According to CaseNet, Williams was convicted of two assaults in 2019. He was charged in 2019 for handcuffing himself to a Boone County officer and attacking and choking her.
Police temporarily closed Clark Lane during the investigation.