A Tennessee Woman Survived A Vicious Attack After Her Ex-Husband Killed Her Best Friend
Penny Waldroup was dropping her children off to visit with their father when her ex-husband greeted her with a shotgun.
Dotchi Latham was a nervous wreck as she watched her friends, Penny Waldroup and Leslie Bradshaw, prepare to leave Leslie’s Meigs County, Tennessee, home and travel up a rural mountain in nearby Polk County.
Penny was going through a nasty divorce from her husband, Brad, but she was still trying to make sure that their four children were able to spend time with their father. The divorce had been a long time coming; the pair had married young after Penny got pregnant and went on to have four children together, but there had always been signs that their home was violent.
When Penny had finally had enough of Brad’s abuse in 2006, it was Leslie who supported her and helped her file the paperwork to begin the divorce proceedings. Penny had been working hard to become self-sufficient without Brad, and Leslie was her cheerleader as she made a new life for herself. Brad had been furious when Penny announced she wanted a divorce, but he seemed to accept it and moved out of their home and onto his grandmother’s property on Kimsey Mountain in Polk County.
Brad’s volatility frightened Penny, but Leslie was less afraid of the towering man. On Oct. 13, 2006, Leslie volunteered to go with Penny to Kimsey Mountain to drop the kids off with Brad for the weekend. While they were gone, Dotchi was set to watch Leslie’s kids for her. The women made a plan – Leslie and Penny would call Dotchi before they lost their cell phone signal as they pulled off the highway. If they didn’t call back within about half an hour, Dotchi would call the police for help. Dotchi was armed with the full names and birthdates of all of Penny’s kids, as well as details about Penny’s van.
As expected, Penny called Dotchi to tell her they were headed up the mountain at 6:20 p.m. that evening. Time passed excruciatingly slow as Dotchi waited to hear from her friends. When they didn’t call, she called 911 to explain the situation to a dispatcher and ask for help. The dispatcher was noncommittal, telling her that an officer would get up there when they had time.
Meanwhile, things on the mountain had taken a deadly turn.
Brad was waiting on the porch with a gun when Penny, Leslie, and the children arrived. The children were sent inside while Brad began pointing his gun at Leslie. He blamed her for the failure of his and Penny’s marriage because of her support as Penny worked to disentangle herself from Brad. Finally, he fired his weapon, and Leslie dropped to the ground.
Penny rushed to her friend’s side, urging her to get up, but Leslie was unresponsive. When Brad approached her with the gun, Penny began running, and Brad fired the first shot into her back.
Find out what happened when a rookie cop finally arrived on the scene on No One Can Hear You Scream on ID at 9/8c on Oct. 17.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence or abuse from a romantic partner, you can visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, call 1.800.799.SAFE, or text START to 88788 for help. Advocates are available 24/7 to help callers talk through their situation and connect them with local resources. There is no charge to reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.