A Milwaukee, Wisconsin man was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of his girlfriend and her daughter.
Patrick Fowler was found in Texarkana, Arkansas and ultimately admitted to killing his girlfriend, 29-year-old Jessica Ellenberger, and her daughter, 4-year-old, Madyson Marshell. Fowler, 31, told investigators that he and Ellenberger had gotten into an argument prior to the killing and that he "felt as if he were being disrespected."
When Ellenberger told Fowler to "back off," he became violent and stabbed her several times before stabbing Madyson, as well. He then used Madyson's coloring books to set their house on fire, WISN reported.
"I didn't see any flames. You could smell like, a sweet wood smell, like somebody was burning in a fireplace. You could see the smoke through their windows from outside. That's how thick it was -- even in the upstairs unit. You could literally see the smoke. Neither one of them made it," a neighbor and friend of Ellenberger told Fox 6 Now.
The neighbor continued:
Devastating isn't even the word for it. You don't expect something like that to happen. You don't expect to lose somebody you care about in such a manner. I adored both of them -- but I especially adored that child. That was my sweet little girl, is what I called her. They loved each other. You saw it between them.
Any time they were together, they laughed. They had fun. Every time I saw that child, she would run up and I'd get a hug and kiss and 'I love you.' She called me 'auntie.' I'm very complimented with that. I loved both of them a great deal. I really did. They weren't just neighbors. They were somebody that was deep in my heart.
Madyson, according to her school principal Kevin Vos, recently survived a battle with cancer.
"That was devastating. She was gone for a long time, so her classmates and her teachers and us as a school community were praying for her during cancer treatments," Vos told WISN. "She was so kind. She was a real spark, and you could just see that smile."
The family of Madyson's father, Christopher, subsequently set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of a funeral as well as the costs of putting his life back together after losing his daughter and her mother.
"On March 19th, my brother Christopher lost two very important people in his life: his daughter Madyson (4) and her mother Jessie. This horrific tragedy has rocked our family and become a deep emotional burden on my brother," Christopher's sister wrote on the page.
"Little Madyson was the light of his life and the most wonderful little girl who didn't deserve to be taken from this earth so suddenly. Just a few weeks ago, little Madyson had beaten cancer and had a new outlook on her bright future."