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Cincinnati family shines light on abuse, visitation struggle after mom kills 2 children

Posted at 7:57 PM, May 11, 2022

CINCINNATI — A Cincinnati family is shining a light on custody and visitation struggles that ended when a mother killed her two children this month.

Lexington police said 13-year-old Deon and 5-year-old Skyler Williams were stabbed and killed by their mother, Nikki James, May 2. Investigators say she then tried to kill herself.

James pleaded not guilty Monday in court.

“What would compel a mother to do that,” said Dariah Williams, the children's half-sister.

Their father, Darryl Williams, raised Dariah in Cincinnati. Williams moved away from Lexington almost four years ago and said ever since then, it's been nothing short of a fight to see his children. Dariah Williams was on her way to college when she said James stopped letting her father visit Deon and Skyler.

“She was in contempt several times,” Darryl Williams said. "That was down here in Hamilton County."

Hamilton County Juvenile Court records show Williams had visitation rights, and the court issued a warrant for James’ arrest in 2019. The next year, documents show the father asked the court to dismiss the case, and a magistrate complied with his request. He told WCPO he was frustrated with Lexington Police’s lack of arrest, and he hoped it would lead the mother to allow him to see the children.

“The law was not enforced,” Dariah Williams said.

The Lexington Police Department relies on police contact with a wanted person to make an arrest. Sometimes this is an unrelated traffic stop or investigation where the officer finds the subject is wanted for another crime. We also rely on individuals and other agencies to inform us of the location of a wanted person, so we can attempt to locate the wanted subject.

The father said the children’s mother called him this month to say she was in a cult and feared for her life. He called 911 to request a welfare check. Public records show police spent about one hour at the apartment before leaving. WCPO is waiting on the Lexington Police Department to say what happened during that time.

The next day, police said the mother stabbed the children and cut her own neck.

In an interview with WCPO affiliate LEX18, Williams said he is trying to grapple with feeling like he and his kids were failed twice by the very system put in place to protect them.

"The world is very, very hard on men. And even more, so Black men trying to do the right thing," Williams said. "I understand they got their own preset perception of how they want to view us, but some of us know how to grow up when we grow up. And we do the right thing, and we still get pushed back and things like this happened because nobody else seen what I seen."

The family has a GoFundMe set up for funeral expenses.