Mother warns domestic violence victims to seek help during daughter's vigil

Posted at 10:27 PM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-20 23:16:33-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The mother of a local woman killed, police say, at the hands of her boyfriend is warning others who may need help out of an abusive relationship. 

On August 11, investigators say Tykese Keaton-Baldwin, 20, beat Brittany Collett to death in Detroit. 

Dozens gathered at Ballast Point Park Monday night to honor the 23-year-old. 

"He controlled her, micro-managed her every action or every move," said Kathleen Whiting during a vigil for her daughter. "She couldn't talk to me. He was always checking her messages. She couldn't even go to work without him being there all the time."

Keaton-Baldwin, who was a standout running back at Plant High School, is now charged with second-degree murder. 

"I wish more people would step up and help other women, then their life wouldn't end up like my daughter's," said Whiting. 

Despite a thunderstorm and heavy downpour, friends and family huddled under a park gazebo to light candles and tell stories about Collett. 

"We're going to show our support for her because she deserves it," said friend and co-worker Damari Sanchez. "No one should have went through what she went through."

Many there for the vigil worked with Collett at Buffalo Wild Wings in South Tampa. They were able to attend thanks in large part to staff members from Wesley Chapel driving south to cover shifts Monday night. 

Family members hope this tragedy is a wake-up call for anyone who needs help. 

"I want all the women out there tonight going through this kind of situation, get out of it," warned Whiting. "It's senseless. It doesn't have to end this way."

A representative with The Spring of Tampa Bay also attended the vigil to offer information about services that can prevent domestic violence and protect victims. 

If you or someone you know may be a victim of domestic violence, call the 1-800-500-1119 hotline to connect with experts at the DV center located nearest you. All 10 DV centers in the Tampa Bay area can be reached via the statewide DV hotline. For your own protection, the hotline number is untraceable and will not be displayed on your phone or phone bill.