Saydie Thomas was making plans to leave Baton Rouge after her latest adventure had turned sour.

She would call her mom and sister in tears, describing a dangerous neighborhood and controlling roommate, saying she was scraping together the money to come home, according to her family.

But home was in Michigan and she didn't get there fast enough. She didn't escape Baton Rouge in time.

Thomas, 24, and her roommate, Roland Franklin, 38, were both found dead inside her apartment Tuesday morning. Autopsy results released Wednesday revealed she was strangled and he was stabbed.

"I just can't imagine the terror she must have felt when this was all happening to her," her mom, Patricia Olson, said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. "As her mother, I have moments of extreme anger and extreme sadness — the pain of losing a child."

Authorities haven't determined when exactly the victims were killed, but at least one appeared to have died several days before their bodies were found, said Shane Evans, chief of investigations for the coroner's office. He said it's difficult to pinpoint an exact time of death once 24 hours has passed.

Baton Rouge police were conducting a welfare check at the apartment late Tuesday morning when officers kicked down the door and stepped into a gruesome scene. Emergency crews quickly swarmed the 4100 block of West Brookstown Drive near its intersection with Prescott Road, though police initially said detectives hadn't determined whether foul play was suspected.

Olson said she last talked to her daughter on Saturday. They were joking around as usual, shooting the breeze. Thomas was taking selfies using silly filters on Facebook and sending them to her mom.

Then the conversation turned more serious when she brought up her plans to return home, saying she was getting ready to buy tickets and looking forward to leaving Baton Rouge, Olson said.

Thomas' relatives said they believe her relationship with Franklin was unhealthy, bordering on abusive, which is why she needed to leave.

Attempts to reach Franklin's family Wednesday were unsuccessful. Thomas' relatives said they were told his family had called police for the welfare check because they hadn't seen him in some time.

Thomas and Franklin had met in Minnesota several months ago while she was living with her brother there, her family said. The two had spent some time with Thomas' relatives in Michigan last fall but then traveled to his hometown of Baton Rouge for Thanksgiving and ended up getting an apartment together, relatives said.

"I was very upset when she moved down there with him," Olson said, her voice choking up over the phone. "We didn't want her to go, but she was an adult. I couldn't stop her."

Bryna Thomas, Saydie Thomas' identical twin sister, said she had been feeling uneasy over the weekend, especially after noticing her sister hadn't been posting on social media, which was unusual for her. The two were in almost constant touch even when they were physically far apart.

They grew up together, listened to the same music, watched the same movies and were "pretty much like one and the same," Bryna Thomas said.

"All I know is my sister absolutely did not deserve this. She wouldn't hurt a fly," she said. "Everyone has their faults but she was a good person. She had a family that loved her very much."

The family said they want to make sure Thomas' death doesn't go unnoticed and unsolved. She was so young, they said, bouncing around and being adventurous, seeing new places, with dreams of becoming an actress someday.

"She was feeling her independence, so to speak," her mom said. "She just was doing it with the wrong person in the wrong place."

Baton Rouge police are continuing to investigate but haven't identified any suspects or motives. They asked anyone with information about the homicides to contact the BRPD Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.