published Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Bride shot to death on Sunday previously threw herself from a moving vehicle to escape abuse

  • photo
    Bullet holes are visible Sunday on the trailer of Crystal Ostrum, 39, at Mimosa Trailer Park in Soddy-Daisy. Ostrum, 39, who was recently remarried, was killed in a shooting early Sunday morning.
    Photo by Erin O. Smith /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Ritchie Arrest Report
Ritchie Arrest Report

The beating from her boyfriend in November was so violent that Crystal Perry Ostrum threw herself from a moving vehicle rather than endure more of it.

Now her alleged abuser is her alleged killer.

Jeremy Scott Richie, 39, was scheduled for a July criminal court appearance on assault charges stemming from a Nov. 23 incident in north Hamilton County in which Ostrum suffered serious injuries.

Now, he is also charged with criminal homicide in a Sunday morning shooting that killed Ostrum, 39, and injured two others at a Soddy-Daisy trailer park.

Soddy-Daisy police Chief Phillip Hamrick said local investigators and the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office arrested Richie late Sunday afternoon at a cabin in a wooded area of Van Buren County. They had been tipped off by witnesses and one of the other two people shot -- Ostrum's new husband and his son -- that Richie was the gunman.

A court document containing Ostrum's testimony to police following the November incident sheds light on the relationship between Ostrum and Richie and what may have led her to seek and obtain a restraining order against him.

With Richie driving and Ostrum in the passenger seat on the way back from a Saturday dinner in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Richie grabbed her by the back of the head and slammed her head into the center console and dashboard, Ostrum told police.

It was because she had smoked and talked to another male at the restaurant, she said.

To get away, Ostrum jumped from the vehicle while it continued traveling on Lee Pike. She went to a house nearby and called police. Officers noted that she had a swollen left eye, a split upper lip and was missing her front teeth.

A search of Richie's vehicle that night revealed blood "all over" the interior of the vehicle and damage to the console.

In the aftermath of that incident, Ostrum filed a restraining order and continued with criminal charges against Richie, Hamrick said.

And she met another man whom she just recently married, all while continuing work as the business manager of Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy.

"She was a trusted employee of the school," CGLA executive director Elaine Swafford said Monday. "Many times you might hear a student go by who called her 'Mrs. Crystal' in the hallways. She was the quiet type but she was friendly and happy."

Contact staff writer David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.

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