19-year-old man charged with killing his ex-girlfriend’s mother after breakup

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TACOMA -- Austin R. Moores Nelson, 19, of Tacoma, was charged Tuesday with shooting to death his ex-girlfriend's mother outside her Puyallup house and then entering the home in an apparent search of his ex and killing the family dog.

The former girlfriend had stayed at a friend's overnight and was not at home at the time.

Moores Nelson, apparently upset over the breakup with the daughter, allegedly gunned down the girl's mother, Teresa Ryan, 46, in the street in front of her Puyallup home Monday morning, then entered the family home, shot up the place and killed the family dog, court documents say.

The Pierce County prosecutor charged Moores Nelson with murder, burglary and animal cruelty. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered held in the Pierce County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

The court documents detailed how Moores Nelson allegedly terrorized his ex-girlfriend, identified only as B.D., after she broke up with him.

Last September, Moores Nelson and then 15-year-old B.D. started a sexual relationship, and B.D.'s mother, when learning of it, told Moores Nelson to stay away from her daughter, court documents say. But after a couple of weeks, Moores Nelson and B.D. began to see each other again, and Moores Nelson would enter the home at night when B.D.'s parents were asleep.

On Dec. 6, the Ryans reported their home had been burglarized. They said several guns were stolen, along with a vacuum and and other items. There were no signs of forced entry.

On Jan. 8, B.D. broke off the relationship, telling Moores Nelson that she did not want to continue lying to her mother, court documents say.  He objected, saying he loved her.

On Jan. 15, B.D. got text messages from Moores Nelson threatening to damage her car. That day, her car was vandalized while in her school parking lot. Two windows were broken and three tires were flattened.

On Monday, Jan. 18, deputies were called at about 8:15 a.m. for a report of shots fired and a woman lying in the street. Deputies found Teresa Ryan lying on her back just outside the driver's side of her SUV, which was parked in front of the Ryan house. Her 5-year-old daughter, who had been in the SUV, witnessed her mother's killing, but escaped unharmed.

A K-9 tracked the suspect to a nearby area, but then lost contact.

"Deputies went into the Ryan home and found a dead dog in a pool of blood and the rear slider door window shattered," the documents say. "It appeared the defendant entered the home and gone up the stairs and shot the dog. There was evidence of five gunshots in the house."

B.D. had spent the night at a friend's house because the family thought she should be away from the family home for the night, documents said.

The defendant was arrested without incident at his grandfather's house. Moores Nelson's grandfather told deputies he last saw his grandson at about 7:30 a.m. Monday, when he was watching TV in the upstairs family living room.  The grandfather said he went back into his bedroom and could not verify if the defendant stayed or left at some point after that, the court documents say.

He also said that his grandson had a gun that he had taken away from him. But on Saturday, Jan. 17, his grandson asked for the gun back, saying he had a buyer for it. The grandfather gave the gun back to him, but said he did not give him any bullets, the documents say.

If you would like to contribute to the Teresa Ryan Memorial Family Fund, click here for their Go Fund Me page.

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