A Center Grove area woman’s father was abducted and killed, and now she’s raising the two boys of the woman accused of the crime.
Amanda Bryan and her husband, Steven, already were raising a newborn girl; but now they have custody and are caring for the 12- and 11-year-old boys, too.
She has known the boys since they were toddlers. They’re family; even after their mother, Opal Williams, was charged with conspiring to murder her husband, Steven Williams — Amanda Bryan’s father. Amanda and Steven Bryan asked for custody and got it from the court, while Opal Williams is in jail in Marion County awaiting trial.
But they’re looking for some help.
Steven Bryan is working full time as a telemarketer. Amanda Bryan is at home with her newborn daughter, and they’re working on becoming certified foster parents in order to receive government assistance to help pay their expenses.
But right now, they’re managing the house, planning a funeral for her dad and taking care of three kids. That’s while also juggling insurance and other issues that have come up since Steven Williams’ death.
“We don’t have much money. They really need more clothes,” Amanda Bryan said. “They kind of basically lost their mom right now. They feel bad because everything is falling all over us.”
Steven Bryan said they didn’t hesitate to ask for custody of the boys.
They didn’t want the kids to go back to their father, and they’ve all lived together in Steven Williams’ house in White River Township for about a year, he said.
“We asked them, point blank, ‘do you want us to be your guardians,’ and they said, ‘We want you guys,’” Steven Bryan said.
Amanda and Steven Bryan have been upfront and honest with the boys about what’s going on with their mom, since they’re old enough to understand what’s happening and why. Both have been willing to sit down and talk with the boys if they need to.
At first the boys were shocked and upset to find out what their mom was accused of doing, but they’ve handled it well and are back to their normal day-to-day lives, Steven Bryan said.
Opal Williams, her boyfriend, Rickey King, and her cousin Charles Lehman Jr. are charged with murder after the abduction and stabbing of Steven Williams on March 10.
According to court documents, King and Lehman forced Steven Williams into a van, drove him to an area under a bridge in Indianapolis and called his wife, Opal, who said to kill him because Steven Williams had been seeing another woman while the couple were separated. King and Lehman stabbed Steven Williams in the chest, cut his throat, rolled him in a carpet and dumped him under the bridge, court documents said.
Opal Williams reported her husband missing. Police found the van three days later and found his body two days after that. All three were arrested less than two weeks after Steven Williams was killed.
“(The boys) were very shocked, sad, depressed. We held each other and cried. I felt bad for them that they needed to know that their mother did that,” Steven Bryan said. “They’ve actually been really resilient and bounced back. They’re doing great in school now. Their attitudes have been changed, and they’re more well behaved.”
That’s been due to a little more structure and discipline around the house, Steven Bryan said. When the boys started fighting in the living room, for example, each got sent to timeout in separate rooms — two minutes times their age. After time was up, they talked with Steven Bryan about why they were in trouble and then went back to playing.
When Opal and Steven Williams were separated, she moved out of the house and took the boys with her. They moved back in before the murder; but when they returned, the boys didn’t have much with them, Steven Bryan said. The couple were attempting to apply for food stamps but stopped because they’re trying to get state-certified as foster parents and get cash assistance to help raise the boys, he said.
Steven Bryan said he is making just enough to cover all the bills, but there’s nothing left over right now to cover other expenses.
“We’re just trying to help raise money to keep food on the table for them and make sure that they have everything they need. They’re short on clothes, and we need to give them new clothes and have pencils for schools and shoes without holes in them,” Steven Bryan said. “We’re just trying to give them all the basic necessities we can.”
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Center Grove area residents Amanda and Steven Bryan are raising the two boys of Opal Williams, who has been charged with murdering her husband Steven Williams, who is Amanda’s father.
If you want to help, you can donate to their GoFundMe campaign at gofundme.com/rk8trg8/.
The money will be used for food, clothing and other family expenses, the couple said.