The last time she saw her father, she told him she loved him and expected that he would come with her to the courthouse to get her marriage license the next day.
But when she woke up March 11, Steven Williams, 52, hadn’t returned to their Center Grove area home.
Amanda Bryan texted and called her father, but he didn’t answer. She was marrying her now-husband, Steven Bryan, that day, and her father had planned to come to the courthouse. But when she didn’t hear from him, they had to go without him.
Later in the day, she reached her father’s wife, Opal Williams, who said he was missing. For the next few days, Amanda and Steven Bryan spent more than $100 in gas, driving around, looking for Amanda’s father. Nine days after she last saw him, police found Steven Williams dead, rolled up in a dirty carpet under a bridge in Indianapolis.
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Amanda Bryan remembers her dad leaving the house late on March 10 because he was told his wife had fallen and hurt herself. Amanda Bryan was heading to bed, not realizing it would be the last time she would speak with her dad.
“He said, ‘Love you too. I’ll see you later.’ From there, he didn’t come back,” Amanda Bryan said.
Steven Williams was helping hold his family together despite marital issues he was having with his wife. He was helping care for his daughter, her husband and their 7-week-old baby, as well as Opal Williams’ two sons.
He’d gather the family around the table to play Dungeons & Dragons or sit and watch TV together like any other family.
He was known for teaching himself. Steven Williams taught himself to play guitar, piano and drums and recorded his own music. He loved to go out to bars on karaoke night and belt out tunes.
He also taught himself computer programming and was working at Salesforce.com in downtown Indianapolis as a coder. His kids and his co-workers called him Scoobie because there were too many Stevens in his life, Amanda Bryan said.
Steven Williams told his children about his tough childhood. He got picked on at school a lot and misbehaved.
He got caught disabling the odometer after he sneaked his mom’s car out to drive around and once got in trouble for accidentally starting the trash on fire while playing with matches.
So when he became an adult and had kids of his own, Steven Williams wanted to make sure they grew up better than he did, Amanda Bryan said.
She moved to Iowa as a teen but was struggling to finish school, and her husband lost his job. Steven Williams told them they could come to his home and that he wanted to help them out and make sure they were both safe and secure.
“He said, ‘If you move up here, I’ll give you a place to stay, a car, I’ll help you take care of my daughter,’” Steven Bryan said.
Steven Williams had three children, including Amanda Bryan, from his first marriage and was helping raise Opal Williams’ two boys as his own. He didn’t play favorites and treated all of his biological, step- and in-law children the same, Amanda Bryan said.
Steven Bryan had taken to calling him “Dad” for all the care and love he showed them.
“I told him ‘Thank you,’ and called him ‘Dad.’ And he looked at me and was like, ‘Did you really just call me Dad?’ And I told him again, ‘Thank you so much for everything you’re doing for me,’” Steven Bryan said.
Steven and Opal Williams had been having trouble in their marriage but were working through it. No one expected Steven Williams would be killed, and his wife would be arrested and charged with murder, Steven Bryan said.
Steven Williams had told Opal he wanted a divorce after she connected with an old boyfriend, Rickey King, who also is charged with murder in the case. Steven and Opal Williams were married in May 2007 and were able to work it out, without filing any court papers, the Bryans said.
They were separated throughout parts of 2014. She moved out, and they were both seeing other people, Steven Bryan said.
Steven Williams filed for divorce on Dec. 15 while Opal Williams was living in Oklahoma. The couple were supposed to appear in court March 9, but the hearing was canceled because Steven Williams had notified the court they had reconciled and he would be filing for the case to be dismissed, according to court records. Opal Williams returned to Greenwood and moved back in, and they were working through it.
They argued about the relationships each was having during the separation. Steven Williams ended his relationship with the other woman when he and his wife reconciled, Amanda Bryan said.
“He cried on me. He missed Opal. He really missed Opal a lot. He could not stop crying, so I hugged him,” Amanda Bryan said.
Both Steven and Opal Williams stressed to their kids to not lie, get angry, start fights or react violently when they were mad. And their relationship was mending, which makes his death even more shocking and confusing, Steven Bryan said.
“Opal was the one who reported him missing. The whole time she knew. That’s the most demented, psychotic thing to me,” he said.