Livye Lewis had her entire life in front of her. Just two weeks before she was found murdered on the side of the road, she had purchased groceries for a random stranger who she saw counting items in her cart and counting her money. When 19-year-old Livye arrived home after the random act of kindness, she told her mother she imagined there had been times her own mother had to put items back on the shelf when struggling.
As a little girl, Livye was full of life. Her mother and family describe her as stubborn and independent, albeit with love and humor guiding her desire to live life to the fullest. Described as independent, today her guiding mantra would be YOLO.
Livye suffered from jaundice, born early, according to her mother. That didn’t stop Livye from shining, by age 4 she was reading and her mother giggles when describing her daughter’s gymnastics experience. Like the military, the balance beam doesn’t take kindly to those afflicted with flat feet. Livye was fonder of dogs than cats, later on. Many years later, she turned her love of nurturing to a focus on being a nurse.
Then as abruptly as her random acts of kindness, in November 2020, Livye’s life was taken violently and without warning. Her estranged boyfriend, Matthew Edgar, was named the suspect, arrested and charged with her murder.
Livye’s mother and supporting legal documents state the 19-year-old was found in her vehicle on the side of the road with fatal rifle shots to her upper body, including a bullet wound in her neck. In addition to the gruesome scene, her mother reports it took police 3-hours to actually start processing the crime scene. While Livye’s lifeless body lay in that gruesome scene, officials instead ensured Matthew Edgar received medical care.
Matthew Hoy Edgar was well known to law enforcement as far back as 2014, including three different high speed police pursuits, and one which resulted in a car crash that injured an officer. Now, in 2020, Edgar was eventually named as the suspect in Livye’s murder, but due to laws in Texas, Edgar’s indictment needed to occur within 90 days of his arrest. The pandemic likely delayed that process, the grand jury never returned the indictment, and Edgar was released on an absurdly low bond, just $50,000, for murder. Just after setting bail, the judge recused himself from the case. In a written statement, the DA disagreed with the bond being granted.
While out on bond for Livye’s murder, a grand jury returned a felony indictment of Edgar for new charges of assault and criminal mischief. On the same day that Livye had been murdered, according to the indictment, Edgar assaulted a woman he had been dating by choking her and kicking her, as well as damaging the doors of her vehicle.
Despite all charges, Edgar walked into his trial a free man, versus chains and shackles. He was free to come and go to the trial and then home.
The trial lasted three days. However, on the second day, Edgar was seen walking out of the courtroom, whistling as he strolled past law enforcement, and his family behind him with grins to match his sinister whistle. He never returned to the trial on the third and final day, when a jury of his peers found Edgar guilty of murdering Livye Lewis.
Livye’s mother describes her interactions with law enforcement as cumbersome. She describes moments in the investigation when police simply hung up the phone on her as she sought justice and answers. Those interactions have not improved. Darci Lewis says police have not communicated about the manhunt, or if there is even one. It’s unclear at this time if US Marshals are engaged in this case. The Marshals are the entity that typically seeks convicts who have escaped, and Edgar is a fugitive.
Darci Lewis also spoke on Twitter Spaces about other challenges that have arisen, including an alleged court filing or motion that is prohibiting her to now retrieve her daughter’s belongings, namely her cell phone. Other challenges surfaced in the smallest of life’s tasks. During a grocery trip, while Matthew Edgar was awaiting trial, Darci was shopping and Edgar walked past her car in the lot and entered the store. Seeing her child’s accused murderer walking freely into the store, her emotions and love for her slain child got her into a scuffle with Edgar, resulting in her arrest.
Being human comes with many ranges of emotion, and Darci Lewis is entitled to all of them. Her daughter was senselessly murdered, only 19 years-old with her entire life in front of her. Livye’s dream profession was nursing, one aligned with her life’s mission of helping others selflessly. Despite the tragedies in the story, Livye’s mother has turned those into triumphs. Last year the scholarship fund Darci set up on her daughter’s behalf, began helping others who may require a little support in life.
Darci ends the conversation with laughter about Livye’s light, and with pure gratitude, despite the fact that her daughter’s killer remains at large. Her relief in the community stepping up to help is bittersweet because it’s something Law Enforcement should be doing. She tells the group listening how Livye couldn’t do cartwheels growing up, because of her flat feet; one of many challenges her mother shares with the group.
Darci shares all, with transparency, sadness, and moments of laughter. The apple doesn’t fall from the tree. Her daughter had the same attributes and was shining her light on the world when it was taken from her. Matthew Edgar remains at large, but Darci’s humor and compassion are accounted for.