Family: Abused Madison County woman tried to leave husband, reconciled before her murder

Updated: Jul. 1, 2019 at 6:40 PM CDT
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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - A Madison County man is behind bars, accused of killing his wife inside their New Market home.

Family and friends paint the picture of a nightmare domestic violence situation that turned deadly.

According to loved ones, Lorrie Ridings. 53, took steps to get away from her abusive husband, Ty. She got a protection order and moved to a battered women’s shelter.

But recently, she went back to her husband and it turned out to be a fatal decision.

Evelyn Bates can’t imagine what life is going to be like without Lorrie, her next door neighbor and close friend. The two women share a grandchild. Bates is the child’s maternal grandmother. Lorrie was the child’s paternal grandmother.

“It’s not going to be the same to walk out my back door and not see her at hers,” Bates said. “She was the sweetest thing. She would give her the shirt off her back. If you asked her for a favor, she never told you no.”

On June 30 around 10:45 pm, first responders where called to the Ridings' home in the 1500 block of Joe Quick Road in New Market.

“I saw everything. Ty had the door locked when the police got here. The landlord had to bring a key to open the door for them to get in. When they opened the door, he was sitting in there with the body,” Bates said. “Someone in the home called 911. We believe it was her. All she could get out was the address. Ty came out and said she slipped and fell. When the cops went in, it was a whole different scene. You could tell that it was a murder scene.”

Tyson Ridings, 52, was transported to the Madison County Sheriff's Criminal Investigations Division for questioning and later arrested and charged with murder. Officials with the sheriff's office say an autopsy conducted by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences will reveal how Lorrie was killed.

Bates described a terrible past between the couple.

“About three months ago, she was put in ICU for three days because he beat her. She got a lifetime protection order on him and within the three months, she got to missing him and wanting to see him. They’ve been together 20, 25, 30 years. So she came out here to spend a couple of days with him and wound up not leaving. She was living in a battered women’s shelter. She left the shelter and came to him,” Bates explained.

Neighbors say the couple had been fighting nonstop since Father’s Day weekend. They could hear it when they stepped outside. According to the Madison County Jail’s website, Ty Ridings was arrested for domestic violence in 2016, 2017, 2018 and early 2019.

A protection order issued in March 2019 states that he was not allowed to harass, stalk, annoy, threaten or engage in conduct that would place his wife in reasonable fear of bodily injury and that he could not go within 1000 feet of her.

"She was supposed to stay away from him. But they were trying to work it out. I wish she would have stayed at the domestic violence place. She was doing really good for herself there," Bates stated. "I tried to get her out of it several times. I asked her to come to my house and spend a little time there to get away from the situation. But he would never let her leave the apartment. I could never get her out of it."

Tyson Ridings is being held on a $100,000 bond at the Madison County Jail. The sheriff's office said in a press release that the "incident is believed to be domestic related." No other details were released.

Relatives and friends believe Lorrie, who at one point worked as a nurse at the Madison County Jail, was killed by blunt force trauma.

“We knew exactly what happened. We knew Tyson went overboard. He’s beat her to death, or something. The apartment is covered in blood, covered. It still doesn’t seem real. All of the blood, the way the apartment looks. This can’t be real. And we have to go in there and clean it up,” Bates said.

The family does not know how they will pay for Lorrie's funeral, but as they cope with loss, they shared a message to other victims of domestic violence.

“If you’re in a bad situation, get away, please. Leave,” Bates urged. “This was not expected. We never in a million years thought this would happen to our family, but it did. They loved each other, they really did. I don’t know what happened. I think it was the fighting nonstop for two or three weeks and I believe he had enough....She was a really good person."

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