published Monday, June 30th, 2014

Newlywed killed: Threatening text preceded fatal Soddy-Daisy shooting, mom says

  • photo
    Crystal Perry Ostrum was shot and killed and her new husband and stepson wounded in by an attacker early Sunday at the Mimosa Trailer Park in Soddy-Daisy. Jeremy Scott Ritchie, Ostrum's ex-boyfriend, has been charged with criminal homicide.
    Photo by Erin O. Smith.
    enlarge photo

  • photo
    Vickie Penny points out bullet holes Sunday in her daughter's home at Mimosa Trailer Park in Soddy-Daisy. Penny's daughter, Crystal Ostrum, 39, who was recently married, was the victim of a shooting early Sunday morning.
    Photo by Erin O. Smith.
    enlarge photo

A Soddy-Daisy woman’s ex-boyfriend had threatened to hurt her.

But nobody believed him.

He had never violated the restraining order that Crystal Perry Ostrum took out on him until Sunday morning, when he allegedly fired more than a dozen bullets into her home at the Mimosa Trailer Park on Dayton Pike.

Ostrum, 39, was killed. Her bridegroom and his son were injured.

“If they say they’re going to hurt you and they keep harassing you, they will,” said Vickie Penny, Ostrum’s mother.

This is a case of domestic violence, she said.

Ostrum is among several Hamilton County women whose deaths have been linked to domestic violence in the past two months.

Taylor Satterfield is accused of shooting Keiara Patton, the mother of his two children, in May. Cashman Perkins is charged in the death of Frances Smith, his former live-in girlfriend, who was shot in the chest earlier this month.

Domestic violence resulted in 288 murders or non-negligent homicides between 2011 and 2013 in the state, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The Soddy-Daisy Police Department took Jeremy Scott Ritchie, 39, into custody Sunday after the shooting on a charge of criminal homicide, jail records show. Police released no information about the attack, the weapon or the injuries to the other two shooting victims.

Penny said Cody Ostrum, her daughter’s new husband, and his 21-year-old son, Brandon Ostrum, were treated at Erlanger hospital and released.

No information was available from Erlanger on Sunday.

Crystal and Cody had been married only about a month. Cody Ostrum is a second-shift supervisor at Dayton Plastics, according to his Facebook page.

Ostrum was the business manager at Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy. She loved the outdoors and liked accounting, said her longtime friend Teresa Selcer.

She was so happy, her mother said. Just the day before the shooting, the couple chased each other around the trailer park with June bugs and fireflies. Several photos on Cody Ostrum’s Facebook page show them posed in newlywed bliss.

“She didn’t deserve this,” said her mother.

Penny said Ritchie started threatening her daughter in November 2013 after he banged her head into the dashboard of a car so hard that he caused bleeding on her brain.

Ritchie was charged then with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

Ostrum took out a restraining order and cut off contact.

But he texted her all the time. It never came to anything, said Penny.

So when he sent her a text Saturday night that said he would see her before sunrise Sunday, Penny said her daughter thought it was more empty words.

But about 6 a.m., the barrage of bullets began.

Shots punctured the metal walls of the Ostrums’ trailer, leaving fist-sized holes in the wall near Crystal’s bed and in the hallway where her husband tried to take her to get her out of danger.

The bullets missed Crystal’s 10-year-old son, who was also in the trailer.

He managed to get out, running to his grandmother Penny’s house a few lots away for help.

Contact Yolanda Putman at yputman@times freepress.com or 757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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