LAKELAND, Fla. (FOX 13) - A Polk County woman is behind bars after deputies said she shot and killed a man while he was driving, then burned her blood-stained clothes in an attempt to destroy evidence.
Heather Tyler, 28, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of 21-year-old Joseph Witherington.
"I feel like half my heart is gone," Witherington's mother Michelle Witherington said. "My baby has got my other half and I love him with all of it, but half my heart is gone and I can't never get it back."
Michelle Witherington is reeling from her son's death. His body was found Thursday morning in the driver's seat of a blue Kia parked in a remote grove of orange trees off Mud Lake Road in Polk County.
"Nobody had the heart that he had," she said. "Nobody cared like he did. He just wanted everyone happy."
His family is now trying their best to make sense of what happened after deputies said Tyler shot Witherington at point-blank range from the passenger's seat while he was driving. After the vehicle came to a stop, deputies said Tyler shot him again before taking his wallet and leaving his body, which was later discovered by grove care takers.
According to detectives, Tyler burned her clothes stained with his blood in an attempt to destroy evidence. His family said Tyler wasn't known to them nor a close friend of Witherington's.
"He wanted everyone to know that he loved them," Witherington said. "And he loved everyone to a fault because he loved everybody."
Nearly 200 people gathered Friday for a special candlelight vigil to remember him.
"Last night was just amazing," Witherington said. "And I want to thank everybody for being there. You have no idea what that did for my soul."