Kathleen West seen in liquor store hours before death
By BRIANA HARRIS / Staff Writer
CALERA – Just eight hours before her death, suspected murder victim Kathleen West was captured on surveillance video inside of a liquor store.
The footage, which was obtained and shown by Inside Edition on Thursday, Jan. 25, shows West with an unidentified male shopping and laughing inside a liquor store hours before her body was found. The footage was shot on Jan. 12. It was the last time the 42-year-old mother was seen alive.
Inside Edition obtained the footage from R&R Wine and Liquor in Calera, and reported that West and the man bought a bottle of Lucid Absinth and a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
The store’s surveillance video shows her pulling up in a black Chevy. She was wearing a striped top, a leather jacket, jeans and wedges. According to the store clerk who assisted the pair that night, everything seemed normal.
However, West’s body was found at about 5 a.m. outside her home on 100 block of Greenwood Circle on Saturday, Jan. 13. She was discovered by a neighbor’s daughter. Shortly after, Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley said the investigation was being treated as a homicide.
The Shelby County Coroner’s Office confirmed that an autopsy was performed on West’s body on Monday, Jan. 15. Coroner Lina Evans said they were able to determine the cause and manner of West’s death, but are unable to release further information.
There’s been a lot of speculation surrounding the cause of West’s death. A private Facebook group was set up after her death to discuss theories about her death. One of the groups administrators, Melissa MacKinnon, said the group was started by members of an unofficial group known as the True Crime Society. MacKinnon said other groups have been started for similar crimes around the U.S. A second Facebook group that is centered around the homicide was later created.
On her personal Facebook page, West identified herself as a full-time wife and mother. Her Twitter profile, which is listed under the handle of “kittykatwest75,” included revealing photos of her and provided a link to an adult website. According to the site’s description, West was selling “hundreds” of pornographic photos of herself and charged $15.99 per month for access.
She was also a member of a Facebook group called The Cougar Club, which emphasized that it is not a dating site, but rather a place to “spread the word that a Cougar is a beautiful, intelligent, classy older woman who men of all ages find attractive.”
West’s mother, Nancy Martin, created a fundraiser on Facebook to help cover the costs of her funeral. As of Friday, Jan. 26, the fundraiser had generated $2,877. A private funeral was held for Kat West on January 22, 2018.
The day of the private funeral service, West’s husband posted a message on social media explaining why the family decided to have a private service.
“Today we had a private ceremony for Kat,” the post stated. “We made it private due to the fact of the media coverage and from people stalking the family then posting on Facebook in the local area. I wanted to apologize to all extended family and friends for this, but we had to do this for the security/privacy of the family. To the public, our tragedy is juicy gossip and with the family reading all negative and unfounded comments we have decided not to speak to any media outlets at this time because we don’t want our tragedy to be public entertainment. Right now, we want to mourn in private and let the Calera Police Department do its job. Thank you to everyone who are sending positive comments to the family. Also in closing, Kat was a loving wife, mother and daughter who is going to be missed.”
As of Friday, Jan. 26, no suspects had been taken into custody.