YORKTOWN, Va. (WAVY) — An American tourist murdered while on a Caribbean vacation has ties to Hampton Roads.
Jessica Colker was found dead in Grenada on Sunday after her husband said a man attacked them both.
Colker is a Yorktown native and graduated from Tabb High School in 1994. Colker has since moved to the Atlanta area but her Tabb classmates remember her well.
“There’s no words to describe it,” said Kristin McManus, one of Colker’s friends and classmates.
McManus said she was watching the news on Tuesday morning and saw Colker’s face. At the same moment, she received a message from a friend telling her to read a news article on Colker’s murder.
“Immediately as soon as I saw her picture, I got chills,” recalled McManus. “And I was trying to figure out why she was on international news.”
The news of Colker’s death was not the type of update she was hoping to get on her former classmate. She said Colker had not made it back for high school reunions, but she was not the type of person you forgot about.
“Jessica could fill the room with laughter in a second,” said McManus. “And her smile just glowed and she was such a caring person, an open person.”
According to multiple reports, Colker currently worked as a physician’s assistant for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
The Royal Grenada Police Force says the 39-year-old and her husband were attacked by a man while walking on the beach. According to the police, the husband escaped and was able to get help. Another man turned himself in and is in custody. Police in Grenada says Colker died of a severe skull fracture. An investigator did tell WAVY.com’s Atlanta affiliate that the man in custody has not been arrested. Police say they are relying on the husband’s witness account, as well as several other sources, to link someone to the scene.
McManus said former classmates have been sharing memories of Colker on social media after learning she was killed. McManus has many herself.
“If you were new to the school, new to a class, she would welcome you,” said McManus. “She would be one of the people to welcome you, if not the first person, because that was just her personality.”