CEDAR RAPIDS — Asia Taqara Grice was a free spirit — lively, stubborn, loved and strong-willed — and she went her own way.
Those qualities are some of the reasons people were drawn to her, but those qualities also might have been a factor in her death, Grice’s older sister, Victoria McDaniel of Joliet ill., told The Gazette.
Grice, 25, died of a gunshot wound to her head at 4:40 a.m. Friday at an apartment complex at 1610 30th St. NW. She was in her second trimester of pregnancy, court documents show.
Keona Smith, 25, a close friend of Grice’s, whose apartment is in the complex, also was shot several times and taken to a hospital with serious injuries.
Grice’s boyfriend, Johnnie Osborne IV, 26, of Cedar Rapids, was arrested a few hours later at the Rodeway Inn, 4011 16th Ave. SW, and faces charges of first-degree murder, nonconsensual termination of a pregnancy, attempted murder and willful injury causing serious injury.
Court records indicate Osborne made an initial appearance in Linn County District Court over the weekend, where a $3 million cash-only bond was set.
Grice’s sister said Smith had been letting Grice stay with her for a few weeks until Grice could get her own place.
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“My heart hurts so bad,” said McDaniel, 27. “Asia was so loved. She was the life of the party. She was a tough cookie, and she was going places. He took my best friend.”
McDaniel said Grice met Osborne in December and immediately “something felt off about him.”
“His energy was off from the beginning,” she said. “And Asia was different when she was with him. It was like he drained her of her light.”
Osborne was controlling, jealous and possessive, McDaniel said, and although her sister would never admit it, McDaniel suspected Osborne was physically abusing her sister.
“We tried to tell her,” McDaniel said. “We tried to get her to see she wasn’t in a good situation, but she was so stubborn. She always wanted to see the good in people.”
McDaniel said her sister was just figuring out her direction in life. She was working in assisted living, helping care for older people, and was studying to become a certified nursing assistant.
“She wanted to be a midwife,” McDaniel said. “That took us all by surprise, but she had her mind set on that.”
When she found out she was pregnant, Grice was ecstatic, her sister said.
“She was over the moon,” McDaniel said. “She wanted nothing more than to be a mom.”
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In the weeks before her death, McDaniel said her sister was starting to see things a bit more clearly. She had just put a deposit down on her own place, and McDaniel said she was figuring out her next move.
“I think that’s why she’s gone,” she said.
Intimate partner violence affects more than 12 million people each year in the United States, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and nearly one-third of the women in Iowa will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. Data also show intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime.
“Domestic violence is real,” McDaniel said. “Mental health problems are real. This is no joke, and it’s not OK. Just look at what happened to my sister. She never saw it coming. I knew he was bad news, but I never thought he’d put my sister in the dirt. I never thought it would go this far.”
In sharing her sister’s story, McDaniel said she hopes it will encourage women who are in abusive relationships to reach out for help.
“They need to know that there are people who want to help,” she said. “They are not alone. My sister was not alone, and there are other women who are going through this right now (who) don’t know there are people out there that want to help.”
“My sister was beautiful,” McDaniel Continued. “She was kind and generous, and she didn’t deserve this.”
To Get Help
• National Domestic Violence Hotline — 1-(800) 799-7233
• Iowa Victim Service Center — 1-(800) 770-1650; or text “IOWAHELP” to 20121
• Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Iowa City — 1-(800) 373-1043
• Waypoint, Cedar Rapids — (319) 363-2093 or 1-(800)-208-0388
Comments: (319) 398-8238; firstname.lastname@example.org