Body that was kept as a 'shrine' ID'd by PD

Posted at 10:16 AM, Dec 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-31 20:50:03-05

Officials have identified the woman who was kept on a sofa as a "shrine" in Phoenix.

Phoenix police said the victim has been tentatively identified as 20-year-old Crystal Hillman.

"She was a good girl," Hillman's friend, Estella Alston, said. "She was one of my best friends. It's hard for me right now."

Hillman lived with her boyfriend a few miles from the crime scene. She was last seen the day before Christmas, saying she was going to buy marijuana. She left on foot and never returned.

"We had cooked, and I was going to give her a plate, but I never seen her again after that," said neighbor Quinsetta Brown. "She loved people. She tried to help everyone. She was beautiful."

Hillman's friends and neighbors plan to hold a memorial outside of her apartment on Saturday.

A 39-year-old woman in Phoenix is accused of shooting Hillman and then keeping her body on a sofa as a "shrine," according to court documents.

Emergency dispatchers received two 911 calls on Saturday evening, Dec. 26, from people who reported a dead female inside an apartment near 15th and Missouri avenues, records show.

Officers responded and found a black female wrapped in a towel, dead on the sofa. Records say the unidentified victim died of a gunshot wound to the head and may have been pregnant.

The apartment's tenant, Anitra L. Braxton, initially told officers that she lived alone and that no one was inside the apartment. After officers found the body, Braxton was taken to police headquarters, Mirandized and interviewed.

She told detectives that the victim was "a shrine from God and was actually her own body," according to police records. She said the victim was shot for "not believing in her God" and that the body had been there for two or three days.

Police said they believe the scene had been partially cleaned up.

Lenner Tumblin said about four months ago, Braxton moved in downstairs, right beneath him.

Tumblin said there was always noise coming from her apartment.

"Like a psychotic rage," he said. "She's constantly going off, constantly."

Tumblin said he never took her threats seriously.

"I know she has mental problems. Everyone around here knows that she does."

"She would always talk about a certain book of the Bible," Tumblin said. "The book of Jeremiah. But all she kept saying is, 'God told me to read the book of Jeremiah' over and over again."

Braxton was booked into jail on one count of first-degree premeditated murder. She's being held on a $750,000 bond. If the victim does turn out to be pregnant, Braxton will be charged with double homicide.

ABC15 obtained multiple mug shots of Braxton over the past 15 years. Take a look at the timeline below to see when each one was taken.