Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Forbidden Love: Steven Colver and Tylar Witt

Hanging out in The (El Dorado) Hills


Tylar Witt
Tylar Witt

When Steven Colver met Tylar Witt at the Habit coffee shop in January 2009, they were just two goth kids in a clique that frequented the Town Center shops in the upscale city of El Dorado Hills, Calif. He was nineteen and she was fourteen, but they had much in common. They both dressed in the "emo" fashion of black, baggy clothes, and shared a love of anime, Japanese cartoon sagas of supernatural loves and violent deaths. Neither could have suspected that they would soon create a macabre tale of their own to rival any comic book.

Tylar was a freshman at local Oak Ridge High School, from which Colver had recently graduated. The only daughter of a single mother, Tylar had started to act out as she entered her teen years, fighting with her mother Joanne. Tylar had already run away a few times, and as a young child had once been taken out of her mother's custody by authorities. Tylar had also begun cutting herself and whiling away long hours on her MySpace account.

Colver had continued his schooling at nearby Folsom Lake College and worked six days a week at a Rubio's restaurant in Folsom, the next town over from El Dorado Hills. Colver hoped to become a math teacher after college. His friends called him "Boston", a nickname that had stuck even after overcoming a childhood speech impediment that made him sound like he was from Massachusetts.

Colver and Witt began to hang out together in Town Center virtually every weekend, and the friendship started to evolve. They spoke on the phone constantly; Steven became a mentor to Tylar, someone in whom she could confide about her combustible relationship with her mother, stoked in part by Joanne's drinking. In March 2009, the connection between Colver and Witt turned physical. He was the first boy with whom she'd ever slept, and their relationship was passionate, as teen love can be. "We will love each other past death," Tylar wrote in her diary, "I know I will never stop loving him."


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