DECATUR, Ala. -- Former Manchester High School student and elite Chesterfield cheerleader Tiara Cole was found dead in an Alabama motel room Saturday morning. Cole, 22, was shot to death, Decatur Police told WHNT.
"After speaking with the victim's family the Decatur Police Department Detectives determined that Ms. Cole had traveled to Decatur with a male companion," Decatur Police Chief Nate Allen said.
That companion, identified as 25-year-old Carey Davis Junior, was later arrested in Georgia while driving Cole's car.
He was held on a murder charge, WHNT reported.
Both Cole and Davis lived in Georgia.
Before moving to Georgia with her mom, Cole was known in Chesterfield, Virginia, as an elite, competitive cheerleader.
Former coach Mike Blaylock said from the beginning, Tiara stood out from the pack. He first met Tiara when he opened FAME All Stars cheer school 11 years ago.
"She was a level 5 [the highest skill level] from the day she walked into the door," Blaylock recalled. "She was elite athlete."
Blaylock was with other FAME coaches over the weekend when they found out about Cole's death.
"It's disappointing and sad in so many ways," he said. "When someone chooses to extinguish someone else's life... careless."
Mimi Glass and Halle Hines competed with Cole from the age of 10.
“She was a great athlete. She was very determined she was always pushing but always encouraging other athletes as well,” said Glass.
“She was very driven and even if she was tired she would still make the effort to cheer you on,” said Hines.
Former teammates met at FAME Monday to reminisce about Cole and their many fond memories.
“She was actually my best friend. I spent half of my childhood with her,” said Hines. “We would make up gymnastics routines and we weren’t even gymnasts but we pretended like we were Olympic gymnasts.”
“Anyone who met her fell in love with her instantly, she was a great person,” said Glass. “Tiara never went a day without living her life to the fullest.”
“She was my flyer. I remember her falling a bunch of times and knocking me out but she would always check on her bases and get back up.”
Tiara’s mom and sister said Tiara loved life and her five nieces were her “pride and joy.”
Friends and family are contributing to a GoFundMeto help Tiara's family pay funeral costs.
There will be a car wash to help raise money for Tiara Cole's family on Thursday, July 27, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. The car wash will be held in the parking lot at 3900 N Bailey Bridge Road in Midlothian.
There will also be a candlelight vigil held Friday night at 9:00 p.m. at 2400 Oak Lake Boulevard in Midlothian.
Email news tips and photos here.