National

Yoga teacher shot and killed her ex-husband’s girlfriend as kids watched, Utah cops say

Chelsea Watrous Cook, a high school teacher from Midvale, Utah, is accused of killing Lisa Vilate Williams, her ex-husband Travis Cook’s girlfriend, with a handgun while her twin 3-year-old children looked on.
Chelsea Watrous Cook, a high school teacher from Midvale, Utah, is accused of killing Lisa Vilate Williams, her ex-husband Travis Cook’s girlfriend, with a handgun while her twin 3-year-old children looked on. Salt Lake County Jail

Chelsea Cook told her ex-husband that she was going to drop off cold medicine for their 3-year-old twins on Sunday, police say, and that’s when things grew deadly.

Police say Cook — a yoga and health teacher at Skyridge High School in Lehi, Utah — shot her former husband Travis Cook’s girlfriend with a handgun while her children looked on, according to Fox13. The victim, 26-year-old Lisa Vilate Williams, died from her injuries.

Travis Cook told officers that Chelsea Cook went inside his apartment in Midvale while he was in the parking lot, according to a police report, and that she refused to leave the apartment as he tried to get her to exit.

The man says he called 911, police say, while his ex-wife locked herself in the bathroom. Chelsea Cook eventually exited the bathroom — and then grabbed a handgun from her coat and fired up to five rounds at Williams, who fell on a couch, police say.

Police said the children were “present during the entire ordeal.”

After taking the gun away from his ex-wife, Travis Cook tried to provide medical assistance to Williams as she lay dying, police say. As Travis Cook tried to save his girlfriend’s life, Chelsea Cook sat on a recliner with her twin children and watched, the police report says.

Police say officers walked into the apartment and found Travis Cook pinning down his ex-wife, who had tried to escape earlier.

Whether someone has asked you for help or you sense someone is in distress, here are some general guidelines to help support possible victims of abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or financial.

Williams, who was shot twice in the chest, died from her injuries at a nearby hospital, police say, according to the Deseret News.

David Stephenson, a spokesman for the Alpine School District, sent out a statement about the “horrific situation” that involved one of its teachers.

“We’re obviously devastated by the news we heard this morning,” the statement said, according to the Deseret News. “Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by this situation.”

As reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, a staff page for Chelsea Cook on the Skyridge High School website was deleted on Monday morning.

After the slaying, it was revealed that Cook had also been charged with two counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child after being arrested in October, according to Fox13. She pleaded not guilty, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

In a letter to parents, Skyridge Principal Joel Perkins wrote that “we were unaware of any previous charges as we have not been notified through the established process,” according to the Deseret News.

“We want you to be aware of what we have learned, so we can help you process and provide support to any of you who may be in need,” the letter read, according to KUTV. “This type of news is hard to comprehend and we want you to know that teachers, counselors and your parents can help provide support in this difficult time.”

Vicki Bourus, executive director of the Family Justice Center of Georgetown and Horry Counties, gives some advice for those wondering what to do if a loved one might be a domestic violence victim.

  Comments