According to her family Jesika Tetlow collected stray cats and stood up to bullies. She planned to work in medicine and become a mom. Perhaps even open an animal shelter someday. To prepare for that she was completing high school and college classes online and had just been offered a position at Amazon.
She was the youngest of Frank and Susannah Tetlow's four children.
Unfortunately, her plans were cut short early one August morning in North Baltimore’s Mid-Govans neighborhood.
Jesika, an 18-year-old woman, was murdered during an alleged home invasion that happened just before 1:00am on Tuesday, 30 August 2022. She was pronounced dead shortly after medics arrived at 1:06am. The crime took place at a house in the 500 block of Tunbridge Road in the north part of Baltimore, Maryland.
During what was described as a home invasion, Jesika was shot twice in the head while inside a residence with several friends.
According to her parents it wasn't unusual for her to hang out at that house on Tunbridge Road. She would sometimes sleep there after a long night of playing cards or board games with friends. Her parents said that they had heard from her earlier in the night. According to them she had been hanging out with several other people but wasn’t feeling well and went upstairs to lie down a few hours before her murder.
The witness accounts are all fairly consistent: they were inside the house when five men dressed in all black wearing masks forced their way inside the backdoor and held them up at gunpoint. The men then demanded their cellphones. Jesika denied having a phone, and when the robbers realized she was lying, one of them shot her twice in the head.
It's hard to determine how many witness accounts were provided to the media, and all accounts were provided on the provision of anonymity, but here is a constructed narrative taken from multiple sources. It is presumed that the witness statements were from the people that Jesika told her parents that she was hanging out with in the Tunbridge Road house. These quotes have been copied verbatim from the media sources.
From a news broadcast and article by CBS Baltimore, a single male witness (who sounded like his voice may have been modified) described five masked gunmen entering the home through an unlocked back door and restraining the victims. "I guess they came in one by one, just started taping us down, taping our arms and our back, our legs," the witness said. "They just started raiding the house."
According to this male witness, the attackers asked everyone to give up their cellphones and the Jesika said she didn’t have one. The men then became upset because Jesika still had her phone, but that it was upstairs. "They sent her upstairs. I told her to comply," the witness said. "They go upstairs, get the phone, come downstairs, put her back on the floor, put the pillow right over us. They said only one person has to leave, has to die. They started walking out, and then that's when they let off two shots to her head with the pillow over it."
A news broadcast and article published by WMAR, the local ABC television affiliate, featured the voices of both a male and a female witness. It is unclear if this male witness is the same person that was featured in the CBS broadcast.
The female witness said, "They put a pillow over her head, and they shot her twice." The male witness then went on to say, “That’s when they held me to the ground and start taping me up right after that everything just went black to me. There was probably like five, I didn’t see faces or anything. I was shaking, I was right next to her. I was probably like maybe not even a foot away, that’s when I heard two shots. I didn’t look, I just heard it, I was just looking down because I knew they were going to do something."
This news source made no mention of the phone or the trip upstairs to retrieve it.
The male witness said after the thieves left, they left the house and then called police, “We waited like five minutes and we were still taped to the ground and I got up and seen her not breathing". It's unclear if they left the house for safety or because their phones had been stolen.
Although it's tempting to write this murder off as just one of the 335 homicides that occurred in Baltimore in 2022, this case should stand out as particularly suspicious.
The day after the murder, Frank and Susannah Tetlow were quoted in the Baltimore Sun saying they couldn’t imagine Jesika risking her life over an iPhone.
“That’s what really bothers us — she was not materialistic at all. She would give away anything,” Susannah said. Frank added: “She knew we would buy her a new phone in a heartbeat.” They said Jesika was robbed a few years ago while riding her bike in Catonsville. After the attacker pushed her to the ground, she practically threw her phone at him in hopes of protecting herself from further violence, her parents said. They said she made no attempt to fight back when he also took her bike. “She would say it’s better to give it away,” Susannah Tetlow said. “We are just shocked, confused, devastated and shattered. We have so many questions.”
This whole incident sounds implausible and suspicious. Why would home invaders care if a phone was left upstairs? Why would they just kill one person? Why did “someone have to die”? The witness statements lack consistancy and are therefore unreliable. Is it possible that Jesika was deliberately targeted? Was there something incriminating on her phone?
Police have released few details about the case. If you have any information concerning this crime please reach out to the Baltimore Police Department at 410-396-2100.
If you have any additional information or theories as to what hapenned, please leave them in the comments.