Investigation: How authorities failed to arrest Kaitlyn Caroll-Peak's killer days before her murder

Posted at 4:49 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-15 12:32:53-04

New, explosive revelations in documents obtained in an exclusive On Your Side Investigation suggest failures by two separate agencies contributed to a tragic amber alert murder-suicide of last March.

Records reveal that both the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Mansfield Municipal Court Probation officials had the opportunity to prevent the tragedy and failed to take action.

RELATED: How the justice system failed to prevent a young Mansfield mother's murder despite years of clues

Kaitlyn Star Carroll-Peak, 22, of Mansfield, was shot to death March 8, 2017, outside a Mansfield apartment complex by a former boyfriend she broke up with more than a year earlier.

Dakota Steagall, 20, fled the scene with the young mother’s 7-year-old baby girl still in the backseat of the car.

Steagall left the infant with his grandmother before finally committing suicide.

But Richland County Sheriff’s records reveal Steagall was spotted outside Peak’s apartment on February 28, 2017—just days earlier—prompting a neighbor to call for help.

RELATED: Woman, 22, shot and killed in suspected Mansfield murder-suicide

In a 911 call, a neighbor can be heard describing how Steagall “was about to fall over and looks like zombie”.

“He’s really out of it,” she told dispatchers, adding “I’m a little concerned for his safety.”

But after deputies arrived, Steagall was allowed to go free and was never arrested despite being on probation for threatening to kill both Kaitlyn and her grandmother just a year earlier.

Conditions of probation included “shall not possess, use, purchase or misuse any alcohol or illegal substance.”

In addition, the report indicated “spoke to his probation officer and he is going to report in the morning.”

It never happened—and Steagall was allowed to roam free for a full week until finally making good on a previous promise to kill his ex-girlfriend.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department declined an interview saying only “we are not probation officers” adding “there was no offense report completed”.

Mansfield Municipal Court Probation officials also declined to explain why Steagall was never arrested for violating probation and immediately placed in treatment.

The failures have left Peak’s  family confused and angry.

“If they had arrested him that night,” said Peak's father, “ at least we would have been aware and she would have been aware that he was outside her house, possibly stalking her and possibly making some plan to hurt her.”