‘You never think it’s going to happen to somebody you love’: son calls mother’s murder senseless

YELM, Wash. — The son of a Yelm woman says her murder was senseless and it has left a hole in a lot of lives.

Now, the search is on for her killer.

The shooting happened seven days ago on Spanaway Loop Road South. Detectives don’t believe she was a target.

A spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department says he believes the shooting was random. The bullets probably came from the woods in the area. They say there is no reason Teresa Latham should be dead.

“So, my grandma called me,” said Devin Latham. “I found out that way.”

That’s how Devin Latham got the news that his 47-year-old mother had been shot and killed.

What prepares you for your mother’s death? he was asked.

“We had talked about it quite a lot,” said Latham. “She worked in the death industry. She worked at the Yelm cemetery for a long time. And she made headstones ever since I was a little kid.”

Yet, he says, she was so full of life.

“She loved roller skating,” he said. “And we would go dirt bike riding together and quads. We’d go camping. A lot of good times.”

An adventuresome lady, he agreed.

“Definitely,” he said. “Since I was a little kid, we’ve always been involved with motor sports.”

Teresa Latham’s adventuresome life came to a violent end on Mar. 27.

She was on her way to her job as manager at a Dollar Tree. It was early, her son says, 4:30 a.m. on that Wednesday morning, because she was to meet a delivery truck before the store opened.

She was driving in the 17400 block of Spanaway Loop Road South when shots rang out. She swerved into the middle of the road and collided head-on with another vehicle.

That driver wasn’t injured. But Teresa Latham died in an instant.

“She was going to get on I-5 and head to work,” he said, his voice quiet. “Just the wrong time, I guess.”

Now her son is learning to accept a difficult reality.

“Sad, but I know these things happen all the time,” he said. You never think it’s going to happen to somebody you love or someone close to you.”

Devin Latham says they are still working on when they will say a final goodbye to his mother. It will probably be sometime next week.

If you know anything about the terrible crime, you’re asked to call 911.