Local News

March 12, 2014

‘He did not deserve to die like a dog’

Community grapples with clerk killing

Before Skyy Raven-Marie Mims went into the gas station where authorities say she killed the clerk, the 21-year-old sat by herself on the side of the curb and waited.

For perhaps 30 or 45 minutes late Sunday night, Mims sat outside Hi-Tech Fuel at 3385 Airport Road, store manager Ron Williamson said he was told by customers.

Days earlier, Mims was a customer in a club in Marietta where employees played a track from one of her CDs, according to employee Johnathon Murphy. Social media accounts believed to belong to Mims indicate she was a singer and model. Why she was in Dalton and how she got here is unclear — investigators have provided few details. Williamson said he doesn’t believe Mims and the clerk knew each other.

When Mims finally did go inside, she wandered the store for several minutes. The clerk, Dahyabhai Kalidas Chaudmari, 37, known as “Dicky,” was going about his normal routine, said Williamson, who on Tuesday was still trying to piece the events together from what he’s learned from customer accounts, the store’s surveillance video and interactions with investigators.

Williamson believes Dicky may have been turning to get cleaning supplies because he appeared headed in that direction when, according to investigators, Mims assaulted him, killing him. She was captured Tuesday evening in Bartow County and taken to the Whitfield County jail.

Officials with the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia Bureau of Investigation aren’t saying how he died. Williamson said the evidence he has seen indicates Chaudmari was likely stabbed to death, probably with a knife. Whitfield County Coroner Bobbie Dixon said she was awaiting the results of an autopsy the state crime lab performed Tuesday.

The store’s surveillance video is at the state crime lab. Authorities have referred requests for information from the 911 calls that night to District Attorney Bert Poston who didn’t immediately respond to a message late Tuesday about the status of The Daily Citizen’s request. A screen capture from the surveillance video shows Mims wearing a dark, hooded jacket, dark pants and shoes, and white gloves.

The connection between Mims and Dicky also remained unclear Tuesday. Mims left the store with lottery tickets and an undisclosed amount of cash, Williamson said.

GBI Special Agent In Charge Greg Ramey said several law enforcement agencies were involved in the search for Mims. Modeling photos on Facebook and Twitter accounts believed to belong to her, and on a website believed to be hers, yoskyy.com, show her with several different hairstyles. One photo that authorities released shows her with short, tight curls that have apparently been colored burnt orange.

Officials said Mims’ last known address was in Detroit. They expanded their search to include that area as well as the Atlanta area where, according to a Facebook account believed to belong to Mims, she had been during the few days before Dicky’s death.

Murphy said Mims wasn’t a scheduled entertainer at Le Buzz in Marietta where she visited on Thursday or Friday, but someone there did play a track from one of her CDs.

“None of the staff know her personally,” Murphy said. “... I had never seen her before that evening.”

Chaudmari is from India. He had only been working at the gas station for a short time, but he quickly made an impact. Customers who came into the reopened store on Tuesday offered quiet condolences and noted a picture of a smiling Chaudmari making a hand gesture that Williamson said is a common greeting in India. One man came into the store, laid down a long-stem rose, and walked away.

Patricia Boling said Chaudmari’s death strikes hard because it’s so close to home.

“My mother lives near there, and I would go in there when I am down there and buy lottery tickets and chicken,” she said. “They (employees) go out of their way to be friendly.”

Another customer, Jesse Welch, said Chaudmari was loved by everyone who met him.

“I always did business at his store, and he always called me ‘Boss,’” Welch said. “We would talk every time. He was the kind of person that would give you the shirt right off his back. Such a good-hearted man. He did not deserve to die like a dog. I pray for his family every day. He had no enemies, only friends, in our community.”

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (706) 278-1233. The GBI office is open until 5 p.m. weekdays and can be reached at (706) 624-1424.

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