Woman in double killing filed for divorce

41-year-old lived with slain daughter, friend; Husband lived with brother

By Heather Leigh - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Detectives continue to search the Westside house where a woman and her teen daughter were found killed Sunday morning.

Judith Henry, 41, and Denise Rickman, 17, were found by another person living in the home. Police were called to the home just before noon.

Officers haven't listed anyone has a suspect or person of interest.

Henry filed for divorce earlier this month. Henry and her husband, Michael Gant, came to some agreements on communal property and child support less than a month ago and were moving forward with the divorce. According to those documents, Henry was living at the South Shady Pine Street home with a friend while Gant was living with his brother.

No one answered the door at Gant's home Tuesday.

According to the divorce petition, Henry and Gant declared they were both unemployed as of June 10, just 19 days before Henry and her daughter were killed.

Donald Foy, president of MAD DADS, a group focused on fighting violence in Jacksonville, said someone has to know something about the killings.

"This person evidently had no heart to just kill two women," Foy said.

He said his group is waiting on the investigation to be completed before it get involved.

"This individual needs to be removed from the streets of Jacksonville," Foy said. "Someone over there knows something, and the smallest of clues could be the answer to solve this double homicide."

The deaths are hitting friends hard. Rickman was on the track and field team at Mandarin High School. Her coach, Jim Schmitt, is deeply upset by the news.

He told News4Jax in an email, "I am deeply saddened right now, as are the coaches, parents, and athletes in our Mandarin running community. She could make me laugh, even when she was apologizing for being late to practice. Denise always seemed to be happy and was a beautiful young lady. She was a key component of our team, in ways beyond her running skills. Just such a tragedy."

He said Henry cared very much about her daughter's well-being.

"Her mom was much like Denise, in my eyes," Schmitt wrote. "She was extremely involved in her daughter's success on her team. I spent a lot of time on the phone and at the meets speaking with her. She always called me Coach Jim, with a cheerful voice and a smile. Sad beyond words right now."

"It's happening all over Jacksonville," Foy said. "We're just asking the community to get involved. Let's stop being critical of (the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office) or being critical of anyone else. Let's get more involved, let's start waking up, standing up and speaking up about what's going on in our community. That's what it's going to take."

While the investigation is ongoing, police believe the house may be released back to the owners Tuesday night.

Anyone with any information about the killings is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

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