- Joanne Witt was stabbed 20 times as she slept at her California home in 2009
- The single mom, 47, had reported daughter Tylar’s older boyfriend to the police
- She accused Steven Colver, 19, of statuary rape – which set off a chain of events
A popular crime documentary series has laid bare the chilling true story of a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old boyfriend who brutally slaughtered her mom for disapproving of their relationship.
Joanne Witt was stabbed at least 20 times as she slept at her home in El Dorado Hills, California, in June 2009.
Prior to her murder, the 47-year-old, who worked as a mechanical engineer, had reported that daughter Tylar had been the victim of statutory rape by older lover Steven Colver – which set off a harrowing chain of events.
Here, FEMAIL has laid bare the disturbing realities as the latest episode of People Magazine Investigates explores the case of the couple who considered themselves to be a real-life Romeo and Juliet.
The horrific true story began in December 2008 when Joanne’s daughter Tylar met Steven at a local coffee shop soon after she started ninth grade and he started college.
The single mom, who was concerned about the age gap, was initially told that their bond was just a friendship and that Steven was gay.
And Tylar soon convinced her mom to let Steven rent a room in the family home.
Joanna reportedly told friends she thought the older boy could help her daughter with homework and that she could put the extra income toward the mortgage.
But Joanne’s father Norb told 48 Hours: ‘No one – every friend she had, everyone in the family – did not want him in there. But Joanne was very strong willed.’
However, she later learned that the relationship had become sexual after walking in on the young couple in a compromising position.
Joanne called two coworkers to help kick Steven out of the house and warned him to stay away from her daughter.
But he appeared to be unfazed and would reportedly sneak back over to visit when Tylar’s mom was at work or late at night when she was asleep.
The pair had also begun dabbling in drugs together including marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy, according to reports.
The situation proved to be too much for Joanne who went to the police to report Steven for statutory rape following his sexual relationship with her underage daughter.
She also handed over Tylar’s diary, which was filled with ‘very explicit writings of different sexual positions,’ as proof of the encounters with Steven, according to Prosecutor Lisette Suder.
Suder previously told CBS News: ‘She wanted [Steven] away from her daughter but they couldn’t stand the thought of not being together and so that’s when the plotting began.’
Tylar was said to be angry at Joanne and devastated at the thought that her boyfriend may be sent to prison – which is when the pair decided to take action.
The investigation into the sordid relationship was still ongoing when Joanne’s own parents got a call from her boss to ask about her whereabouts after she failed to show up for work.
The call immediately set off alarm bells for the retired couple and Joanne’s boss revealed he had already called the sheriffs to request a welfare check because it was so out of character for the dedicated employee.
El Dorado County Sheriff Jeff Leikauf recounted: ‘Deputies were able to gain entry on the side of the house. They made their way up the stairs to the master bedroom.
‘They immediately discovered a female laying partially on a bed. She had been covered with a blanket, there was no movement, but there was a lot of blood.’
Joanne had been stabbed at least 20 times with what police believed was a 10-inch long chef’s knife, but the weapon was never recovered.
Suder, who described the attack as ‘very violent,’ revealed: ‘It was a very, very, very gruesome scene. There was a wound that almost decapitated her.’
Tylar herself was nowhere to be found in the house and authorities soon realized that she had fled with Steven – sparking a manhunt.
The couple had planned to kill themselves with rat poison on their four-month anniversary in the belief that Steven would be going to prison and had both prepared incriminating suicide notes.
It is thought that they considered themselves akin to Shakespeare’s doomed lovers Romeo and Juliet who died for their love – but their initial attempt had left Tylar with nothing but a stomach ache.
Before attempt the plan again, the teens were discovered by local officers 100 miles after stopping to change their clothes behind a dumpster at a mall.
The pair eventually turned on each other during separate interrogations and the case later went to trial.
Steven – who at one point had described to friends how he stabbed his girlfriend’s mother with a butcher knife – changed his story.
He claimed Joanne was already dead when he arrived at the home and claimed it was Tylar who stabbed her to death.
Tylar’s own story is that she had fallen to the floor before entering her mother’s room and sat with her hands over her ears humming as Steven slaughtered Joanne.
The jury rejected Steven’s defense claims and Tylar agreed to testify against him in court.
In 2011, as a result of her testimony, the then 16-year-old was convicted of second-degree murder and received a reduced sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
She will be eligible for parole in 2024 aged 29.
Steven, then 21, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.