The Facebook message arrived on Sunday night. Jesse McFadden wrote that he was doing well in a marketing job and that he had had a great life, just as «I promised I would with you.»
«Now it’s all gone,» he said in his message, which he sent with a photo of himself looking directly into the camera. «I told you I wouldn’t come back.»
“This is all up to you for continuing with this.”
Hours later, authorities found the bodies of McFadden, his wife, their three teenage children and two other teenagers who were at McFadden’s home for the night. On Wednesday, the police chief leading the investigation into the rural Oklahoma slayings said McFadden, a convicted rapist who spent nearly 17 years in prison before his release in 2020, likely shot all six in the head. before committing suicide.
The message, first reported by an Oklahoma Fox affiliateit was sent to a woman who said she was going to testify against McFadden in a child molestation trial scheduled to begin the same day the bodies were found.
The woman, Kaitlyn Babb, 23, delivered the message to NBC News. It was sent from an account with the name «Holly Days,» and the police chief leading the investigation out of Henryetta, Oklahoma, Joe Prentice, said he had reviewed the message and was not sure if it was sent before or after the message. killings
In an email, Prentice said he was «not willing to read too much.»
“It seemed to me that he was blaming her for his situation for continuing the criminal case against him,” he said.
In an interview, Babb gave a harrowing account of how McFadden allegedly lured her into a predatory relationship as a teenager, convincing her from prison that they had a future together and threatening her when the relationship was revealed and charges were brought.
She said she read the message as McFadden blaming her for the murders because she refused to recant charges of child pornography and soliciting sexual conduct/communication with a minor.
“I thought I was protecting people,” he said. “I thought this was going to keep him from hurting more people.”
She added: “It took away my innocence, my childhood. I didn’t want him to do that to anyone ever again.»
Instead, Babb said, the worst possible scenario has played out: She will never see justice and three families are grieving the life of 14-year-old Ivy Webster; Britain Brewer, 15; Michael Mayo, 15; Tiffany Guess, 13; Rylee Allen, 17; and Holly McFadden, 35.
Babb said the fact that prosecutors never tried the case, filed in 2017 and hampered by what she described as years of delays, pointed to a flaw in the state’s justice system.
“They could have prevented these deaths,” Babb said. “This should never have happened. I don’t know how many times I told them: ‘he is a dangerous man; You are putting the girls in danger. I don’t know how many times I yelled at the top of my lungs for someone to care. Now he looks at what happened.
Muskogee County District Attorney Larry Edwards did not respond to requests for comment. A story quoting KOTV’s EdwardsA CBS affiliate in Tulsa, reported Tuesday that a trial had been scheduled several times over the years and had been delayed due to various factors, including a previous prosecutor who left work and another who broke his foot last night. day before the trial.
an accidental encounter
Babb, a manager for a health insurance company in Texas, said he met McFadden by accident in 2015 after moving to Oklahoma from Texas to live with his grandparents. She had a new phone number and one night she received a message from McFadden. She was trying to reach the person the number previously belonged to, she said.
Babb replied. A friendless transplant in her new town, McFadden found someone who seemed friendly and genuinely interested in her, she said. She did not reveal that she was in prison until later and described her rape conviction as a «misunderstanding,» Ella Babb said.
McFadden asked for proof of her age, Babb said, so she provided him with a picture of her learner’s permit. The back and forth quickly turned sexual, she said, and her requests became increasingly invasive.
“It was no longer, ‘Can you take off your shirt and take a picture?’” he said. «It was, how far can we go without seeing each other in person?»
«I knew I was doing something I shouldn’t have been doing,» he added. “He made me feel like he cared. Although she was only 16 years old, I felt that she loved me.
“I was brainwashed,” Babb said.
New sexual assault charges
The text messages, letters, phone calls and video calls continued for at least a year and a half, she said, even after her grandparents discovered a letter in her bedroom and reported it to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
Babb’s grandmother, Patsy Pappan, said McFadden had directed him to a PO box that Babb said he had asked her to open. McFadden signed the note as Babb’s «husband,» Pappan recalled.
“I was absolutely shocked,” said Pappan, 64.
The department’s inmate profile documents show that on July 8, 2016, a corrections officer seized a smartphone from McFadden. A forensic audit showed “sexually-themed conversations, videos and images” with a person whose name was redacted but whose date of birth, listed on the document, matches Babb’s.
The charges against McFadden were filed on September 29, 2017, court records show. An attorney for McFadden, Rex Starr, has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
Court documents show that McFadden planned to argue that it was not McFadden who was in contact with Babb, but another inmate using the same phone.
‘He was sick’
After the phone was seized, McFadden continued to call Babb, he said. And he had become so accommodating to McFadden’s demands that, at one point, he drove about two hours from his grandparents’ house in Norman to the county courthouse in Muskogee to ask them to drop the case.
The charges caused a change in McFadden’s behavior, Babb said, and he began threatening her.
«Everything changed for her in that moment,» Pappan said.
Babb said he dropped out of high school, moved from his grandparents’ house to Texas and gradually stopped answering McFadden’s calls. Ultimately, Babb said, she blocked his number and told the district attorney that he would testify against him.
«I realized that he did not love me, he was sick,» he said. «Everything was invented.»
ready to testify
On Sunday night, Babb was preparing to travel to Oklahoma the next day for his long-awaited day in court. She hadn’t spoken to McFadden in years when he noticed a Facebook message request around 8 p.m.
Initially, Babb was confused about what McFadden’s message meant: perhaps he had lost his job and was blaming her for it, he recalled thinking. The message also suggested that he «shouldn’t really care anymore,» she said, because contacting her was a violation of the terms of her bail.
Babb said that she did not respond. She took a screenshot and sent it to Edwards, the Muskogee County district attorney.
The next morning, Babb received a call from the prosecutor alerting her to another delay in the case: McFadden’s attorney had requested a continuance over a problem involving McFadden’s phone, Babb said.
Half an hour later, Babb said, the prosecutor called her and told her about a missing persons notice for McFadden, Brittany Brewer and Ivy Webster. Babb said she immediately packed a bag and rented an AirBnB 45 minutes away.
“I was terrified that it was coming for me,” she said.
In the days since the bodies were discovered, Babb said she experienced a rush of emotions: guilt and anger, frustration and grief. For Pappan, she has seen something else through the shame and humiliation that she said her granddaughter has been dealing with for years.
«She wants to be heard,» Pappan said. «She’s tough. She wouldn’t back down from this.»
“I am very proud of her,” she added.