Slain Taco Bell manager had survived tornado, was building new l - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Slain Taco Bell manager had survived tornado, was building new life

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Vettia Roche spoke to WLOX, WSFA's sister station in Biloxi, after she lost almost everything in a tornado in February 2013. Vettia Roche spoke to WLOX, WSFA's sister station in Biloxi, after she lost almost everything in a tornado in February 2013.
Crime scene tape surrounds the Taco Bell on Atlanta Highway Monday. Crime scene tape surrounds the Taco Bell on Atlanta Highway Monday.
Renauldous Chisholm (left) and Kenneth Temple (right) (Source: Montgomery Police Department) Renauldous Chisholm (left) and Kenneth Temple (right) (Source: Montgomery Police Department)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Those who knew Vettia Roche say she was a "fighter" who had overcome a number of hardships and obstacles and had built a new life for herself in Montgomery. But things took a tragic turn when she was killed, allegedly at the hands of two of her coworkers.

According to court documents, Roche, 43, was shot multiple times and hit several times with a car jack during a robbery as she was leaving the Taco Bell in the 5300 block of Atlanta Highway, where she worked as the night manager.

Her body was found early Monday morning by cleaning and delivery crews and that afternoon, Montgomery police arrested two employees at the Taco Bell who worked with Roche. MPD detectives charged Renauldous Chisholm, 19, and Kenneth Temple, 19, both of Montgomery with one count each of capital murder in Roche's death. Both men are being held without bond at the Montgomery County Detention Facility.

On Tuesday, the Taco Bell remained closed. Black ribbons were on the doors of the restaurant, as a sign of mourning and tribute to Roche. In response to a sign placed on the front of the business Monday stating that the business was closed and apologizing for any inconvenience, anonymous customers placed another sign on the door which stated: "It's not an inconvenience. We're sorry for your loss, fear and grief. Stay safe! Your customers, Your community."

At nearby businesses, workers were stunned over what happened to Roche.

"It was an inside job and it's just devastating that something like that would happen. My prayers go out to her family. It's sad to see something like that happen, especially to someone out trying to make a living for their family," said Mark Watts, owner of the Platinum Dreams salon, located in the strip mall behind the Taco Bell.

For Roche, it was a senseless ending to her quest to provide a life for her and her daughter. A Florida native, she moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi for school and in February of 2013, she lost nearly everything when a tornado tore through the area.

She spoke to WLOX, WSFA's sister station in Biloxi, during their coverage of the tornado's destruction and revealed that her family rode out the storm in the bathroom of their mobile home.

"I looked out the door," Roche said. "I'm looking in the sky just seeing stuff swirling in the sky thinking of the scene from the Wizard of Oz. I just yelled out loud 'It's a tornado. Get in the bathroom.'"

All Roche's furniture was water damaged and unsalvageable. Standing in the middle of the debris, she told the news crews that she didn't have enough money to wash the family's clothes at a laundromat so they could have something to wear.

"I know this stuff is replaceable but the thing is it's hard to replace it all," Roche said. "Very hard especially when you're starting from having no finances even worth looking at. Part time job. Fifteen hours a week. Nobody can live off that."

In an effort to start fresh, she moved to Montgomery around Thanksgiving with her teenage daughter to be closer to her sister who lived in the area. In the beginning, they were living out of their car. That's when Roche reconnected with Becky Van Gilder, a Montgomery resident and old friend. The two had gone to high school together in Pensacola, Florida and Van Gilder saw on Facebook that Roche was looking for work and a place to live so she reached out to her and helped get her on her feet.

"She had been a manager at TJMAXX back in Mississippi so she was hoping to find a manager position over here so she found the position at the Taco Bell on Atlanta Highway and she was so excited. She had hoped to go through their manager program and get to open a new Taco Bell they were talking about opening. She was thrilled for the opportunity," Van Gilder said.

Roche thrived in her role over the past few months. But her fight from the bottom to the top took a tragic turn when she was brutally attacked and killed.

In the midst of her sadness over losing her friend, Van Gilder said she also has a lot of anger over what happened to Roche.

"Those men worked with her and they knew what kind of person she was. She would have given them the money. She had a daughter to go home to. They didn't need to beat her and shoot her several times. That is just ridiculous. It's not worth it," Van Gilder said. "She's just been fighting and fighting to provide for her and her daughter and for everything she's gotten, she's fought the good fight and why these guys thought that they had the right to take that from her just makes me angry."

Van Gilder says she'll always be inspired by Roche's determination and drive.

"She gave me inspiration on how not to quit and how to be an incredible mother, just to make whatever she could to make it for her daughter," Van Gilder said.

Once the investigation into her murder is complete, the case will be presented to a grand jury. Officials have not released any other details and declined to elaborate on how they identified Chisholm and Temple as the suspects in the killing. 

"We've got to do something to address this violent crime. I'm going to expend all the resources in my office to make sure that we get a handle on it and that we prosecute these violent crimes the fullest extent of the law," Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey.

An account has been established at Sterling Bank for Roche's family. Donations can be made to the Vettia Roche Account at any branch location. 

A memorial service for Vettia Roche is set for Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 5PM at the church where she was a member, Consuming Fire Ministries on Eastern Boulevard in Montgomery. Her funeral is set for Friday, March 21 in her hometown of Pensacola, Florida.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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