The suspect in the double homicide of a Texas State student and her boyfriend was found dead Thursday around 1 p.m.
While the cause of death is still unknown, Daniel Stillwell, 23, was found dead after driving his car over a cliff near “Devil’s Backbone” on Highway 32 in Comal County, according to Howard Williams, San Marcos police chief.
Stillwell was wanted for two murders that occurred at approximately 12:38 a.m. Thursday in an apartment complex at the 300 block of Craddock Ave. According to the arrest warrant for capital murder, Stillwell allegedly shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, fashion merchandising senior Hailey Nicholls, 22, and her current boyfriend, 26-year-old Jesse Robledo.
Police responded to two separate disturbance calls around 12:38 a.m. Thursday at the Executive Townhomes apartment complex at 317 Craddock Ave., according to the warrant. Neighbors reported yelling, screaming and “what sounded like someone being thrown against the wall,” as well as possible gunshots coming from within the apartment, the warrant says.
Officers found the apartment’s back sliding glass door shattered after arriving on the scene and receiving no answer at the front door. Nicholls was found in the bedroom with a possible gunshot wound to the head, according to the warrant. Robledo, who was on the bed, appeared to have the same wound. Both victims were dead when officers arrived, Williams said.
Daniel Trottier, Stillwell’s roommate, told police Stillwell had called him around 1 a.m. Thursday. Stillwell allegedly told Trottier he saw Robledo’s car outside of Nicholls’ apartment, according to the arrest warrant.
Stillwell allegedly went to his apartment, took Trottier’s firearm and broke into Nicholls’ apartment, according to the warrant. Trottier described his handgun as a Glock 9mm pistol, according to the search warrant for Trottier and Stillwell’s apartment, also located at Executive Townhomes.
Williams said police have not located the murder weapon.
Both of the victims and the suspect worked at Chipotle Mexican Grill in San Marcos, Williams said. Police believe Nicholls and Stillwell had recently ended their relationship, he said.
Sarah Wolfshohl, fashion merchandising junior, said she knew Nicholls for two years and met her while taking classes together.
Wolfshohl said Nicholls and Stillwell had ended their relationship last week, and Nicholls was trying to leave the relationship for some time. Wolfshohl said Stillwell was controlling and would not let Nicholls leave the relationship.
“I never thought he was capable of taking it to that point,” Wolfshohl said.
Wolfshohl said she did not think Stillwell was abusive, but he would become “very intense” and would not let Nicholls go out.
Nicholls was easy going, friendly and very close with her family and twin sister, Wolfshohl said.
“She was the funniest person I have ever known,” Wolfshohl said.
Murders such as Nicholls’ and Robledo’s are a rare occurrence in San Marcos, Williams said.
“I have been here 10 years now and this is the first time we’ve had a double murder in that sort of condition,” Williams said.
Joanne Smith, vice president for Student Affairs, said she could not say much about the case since SMPD’s investigation is ongoing. Smith said university officials are working with police and are doing “anything we can do to help students” affected by the incident.
Kathlyn Dailey, interim director of the Counseling Center, said the office is providing grief counseling to friends of the victims. Students can call or visit the office if they need counseling, she said.