x
Breaking News
More () »

Family says mother killed, buried with 6-year-old daughter in St. Mary's County feared it would happen

While the cause of death has officially not been released, family members of the victims have been trying to raise money to give them a proper burial.

LEXINGTON PARK, Md. — The family of a mother found killed with her young daughter near their home in St. Mary's County said she worried often about being killed by her former partner. 

The bodies of 37-year-old Martina Patterson and her 6-year-old girl, Lyneasha Greenwell, were located in a shallow grave in the woods near their house on Rogers Drive in Lexington Park one day before Thanksgiving. 

Investigators with the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office accuse Patterson's ex-boyfriend Wayne Key of killing them and burying their bodies. Key is being held in jail without bond facing several charges, including two counts of first-degree murder. WUSA9 was at the vigil on Thanksgiving night when the family received a call from authorities about his arrest

Authorities have not officially released the cause of death pending a medical examiner's report. 

"She saw it coming," Lanelle Wald, Patterson's sister-in-law and best friend of 20 years, said. "She said that he would make threats, so every time we would talk, she would say she wanted me and her husband to take care of her kids."

The family says Patterson and Key dated on and off for five years and had a 1-year-old daughter together. The relationship had a dark history of alleged domestic abuse. 

Patterson previously reported Key on numerous offenses including assault, burglary and harassment, according to court documents. Maryland court records revealed Key was the defendant in two separate domestic violence cases in St. Mary’s and Calvert counties in the last two years. 

"I think everybody's question is why?" Wald said. "Why the baby? She's six years old and she would never hurt anybody. I just don't understand what person could look at a child and take their life, and especially a child that called him daddy, even though he wasn't."

While the exact cause is unclear, Wald said her sister-in-law separated from Key, gained custody and got into a new relationship this year. 

Wald first reported the two missing last Tuesday, two days after they did not show up to their plans to take Christmas pictures. She also called Key that day who allegedly said he had not seen Patterson for a week after she dropped off their baby. 

Court documents said Key recently threatened to kill Patterson. 

A neighbor told law enforcement she spent time with them the Sunday before Thanksgiving. A different neighbor witnessed Key pulling a trash bin into the woods, the same area where the bodies were found. 

Numerous items of household trash were found within the rubbish used to cover their bodies, per the court document. 

Wald is now taking care of their baby girl as the family tries to raise enough money for funeral expenses. People can donate through the GoFundMe page created by Wald or by calling to make a donation to Terrence L. Johnson Funeral Service in White Plains, Maryland.

RELATED: Family, friends mourn mom, 6-year-old daughter killed in St. Mary's County

RELATED: Police: Man kills woman then kidnaps 2 children in the home

WUSA9 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

Download the WUSA9 app to get breaking news, weather and important stories at your fingertips.

Sign up for the Get Up DC newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.
Sign up for the Capitol Breach email newsletter, delivering the latest breaking news and a roundup of the investigation into the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021.