Ex-boyfriend of murdered Metro East woman charged in her death

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by KMOV.com Staff | @KMOV

KMOV.com

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 4:34 PM

(KMOV.com) – The manhunt is over for a man sought in connection with the stabbing death of a Metro East woman.

Authorities say 25-year-old Montrell Cooper surrendered and was apprehended at a home in Alorton Tuesday night. He was charged with first-degree murder for the death of Michelle Rowling. Rowling was the mother of Cooper’s 3-year-old daughter.

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly issued a warrant for the arrest of Cooper after he violated his probation for making contact with 25-year-old Rowling, who had an order of protection against him. He's being held in a Belleville jail on a $200,000 bond related to the violation.

Police say Rowling was found dead of multiple stab wounds inside her home in the 400 block of N. 6th St. on Saturday. Cooper, who is considered a person of interest her killing, had not been charged in her death as of Wednesday morning.

Family members of Rowling say she was fearful of Cooper after he was recently in jail for attacking her.

“He got out four days ago, four days ago and from what I understand from others in jail with him that was his word, he was going to kill her,” said Diane Simmons, Rowling’s grandmother.

Cooper was on probation for cutting Rowling’s neck in 2012. 

Family members also say Rowling and Cooper have a 5-year-old daughter together, but broke off their relationship earlier this year.

Five days before her death, Rowling posted a chilling message on Facebook that read, “Sooo, if anything happens to me tonight just let my kids know I loved them dearly and tell my momma I love her.”

The message was posted the day Cooper was released from jail. Police say they found Cooper’s SUV abandoned in Glen Carbon Monday and had been searching for him since Rowling's death.

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