The family of Candace Pickens believes her refusal to have an abortion is what motivated her murder at the alleged hands of her boyfriend.
The 23-year-old resident of Asheville, North Carolina was found dead on May 12, having been shot in the head. The crime was witnessed by her three-year-old son Zachaeus, who was also shot but survived.
“She loved being a mother,” Pickens’s aunt, Irene Pickens, said. “And no matter what she was going through, I think he was the one thing that kept her going.” The boy was also injured, to the point of losing his left eye, but is in stable condition.
The family says Pickens’s boyfriend, Nathaniel Elijah Dixon, was infuriated upon learning she had become pregnant with his own son, which they believe was the reason he killed her. “It wasn’t an option for her, and that’s what sparked the violence,” Irene Pickens said. The police have declined to comment on motive.
Dixon, who has a history of domestic abuse, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder for the deaths of both Pickens and her preborn child. He was found in Columbus, Ohio, where police rescued a 21-year-old woman he had taken hostage.
“So many loved ones have lost such an amazing person,” lamented friend Vanessa Peterson, “and more importantly an innocent child has not only witnessed his mother’s murder the day after his third birthday.” Peterson has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for her memorial service, which has raised $8,782 of a $20,000 goal as of the time of this writing.
Last week, Live Action’s Adam Peters recounted numerous instances of abusive men using violence to pressure women into abortion or punish them for choosing life. Such stories tend to be forgotten amid media narratives that emphasize violence against abortionists, which is rare.