Despite spending her working days teaching secondary school students about health and wellbeing, Chelsea Watrous Cook was certainly not looking after her own mental health. Her colleagues at Skybridge High School in Lehi, Utah, had no idea what the popular teacher was up to and they definitely wouldn’t have approved of her behaviour on, or off, school grounds.
Yoga teacher Chelsea, 33, had been married to Travis Cook until their divorce in January 2018. They had three-year-old twins together and the young children should have been her priority - but Cook’s attention was obsessively focused on Travis’s new girlfriend. Travis had started dating bank teller Lisa Vilate Williams. Friends described Lisa, 26, as gentle, loving and generous. She had moved to the area initially to look after a sick relative and that was typical of her caring nature.
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As well as falling for Travis, Lisa was also smitten with his twins as she adored children. She loved spending time with them and desperately wanted their new blended family to work, but jealous Cook wasn’t happy about Travis seeing someone new and started targeting Lisa. By November 2018, Travis and Lisa had been dating six months and it hadn’t been easy for them under the shadow of Travis’s ex. Cook would show up at Lisa’s workplace, or call her from the school during work hours.
She sent threatening letters and harassed her online. Lisa could have gone to the police, but she wanted to make it work for the children and didn’t want them to suffer from the negativity of making the complaint official. Lisa wrote in her diary about the ongoing problems and shared how much the twins meant to her already. ‘I really hope we can move past all this nonsense,’ she wrote. Lisa just wanted Cook to accept her relationship with Travis and start to build a respectful arrangement.
On November 15, 2018, Travis had the twins at his apartment in Midvale, Utah, and they were all crafting with Lisa. They were making Christmas decorations for the upcoming festivities. Lisa had told her family how much she was looking forward to quality time with the twins and she brought fun and excitement to everything she did.
With Christmas coming up, Lisa couldn’t wait to spoil her loved ones like she’d done since she was a teenager. Cook texted Travis about some cough medicine that she wanted to drop off for one of the children and instructed him to meet her downstairs in the car park.
Travis went down and waited. It was close to 7pm. But instead of meeting Travis there like arranged, Cook sneaked past him and went up to the apartment. It was unlocked and she walked straight in. When Travis realised he’d been lured out, he went back upstairs to find Cook confronting Lisa.
It was clear Cook had come for a fight and Travis asked her several times to leave. When she refused, he called 911. Cook than locked herself in the bathroom for about 15 seconds, before bursting out. Cook reached for her coat as though she was going to leave, but instead, she pulled out a handgun and fired two bullets into Lisa. They hit her in the chest and back. Lisa fell back seriously injured onto the sofa – the horror was all unfolding in front of the terrified twins.