Jacksonville, Florida – In May, a terrible thing happened in Jacksonville that caused a young woman to die while making a TikTok video. There was a 20-year-old woman involved, and in the video, she was holding a gun as a prop. Several local news sites were reported about this tragic incident. According to them, the victim, identified by police as Aniyah Womack, died from a gunshot wound to the stomach.
Following the event, she was quickly taken to a nearby hospital, but she sadly died a few hours later. For 135 agonizing days, her family had to wait in pain for answers about why she died so suddenly.
Mariah Clayton was finally found and held on a manslaughter charge after the police investigation. These facts from Clayton’s arrest warrant showed that Womack, who was 19 years old, was taken to the hospital by two people: the driver and Clayton. At first, they said they found Womack hurt on a sidewalk near Trednick Parkway and chose to take her to the hospital to help her.
However, the story took a different turn when the driver, who was later questioned by police, said that he had gone to an apartment complex to buy weed. When he got there, the people living in the flat told him that Womack had accidentally shot herself and needed medical help right away.
As part of their further investigation, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) talked to people who were in the building at the time of the incident. One witness gave very important information: they said that Clayton and Womack were filming TikTok movies together in the bathroom late that night. As the witness talked about it, Clayton was holding an all-black weapon while Womack filmed her as she pretended to get out of the shower with the gun.
When a man walked into the bathroom and said he was worried about the gun, things got worse. He tried to take Clayton’s rifle away and warned them about how dangerous it was to play with a gun like that. The man said, “Let me check something,” and he reached for the gun during this try. It was at this point that the gun suddenly went off. The witness thought the man was going to make sure the rifle was safe, but before he could touch it, it went off.
Investigators came to the conclusion that Clayton did have the gun at the crucial moment of the killing based on what the witnesses said. It was this piece of evidence that really changed the way the case went and led to Clayton being charged with manslaughter.
“Clayton, while attempting to film Tik-Tok videos, was inappropriately handling the rifle and was culpably negligent in her actions even after being told that she should not be playing with the rifle,” her warrant reads. “The culpably negligent actions of Ms. Clayton led her to be directly responsible for the death of Aniyah Womack.”
Clayton is currently being held on a $250,000 bond. She is expected to be back in court at the end of the month.
Womack’s family says that they want justice.
“We just want justice. Whatever justice looks like. I mean, the industry experts, that’s what they do. So, we just want it to be handled right. We want justice not only for Aniyahm but honestly for anybody else out here too,” Womack’s cousin Autumn Redding said.
The Womack family also encourages families who are still searching for justice for their loved ones to never lose hope.
“Don’t stop fighting for your babies. Y’all got to speak up. You got to be present. You got to show up. You got to make sure you connect with some of the people in the community MAD DADS, Silent Women Speaking,” Redding said. “Build a support system.”
Womack’s family says that her smile and personality will be truly missed.