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Deputies investigating deadly attempted robbery find armed 5-year-old in the forest

CLAY COUNTY, Ala. — Investigators say a woman who was living with a child “off the grid” in an encampment in the Alabama woods was behind a deadly attempted robbery that killed a Florida man.

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The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that deputies were initially called to the Talladega National Forest for a report of a shooting. Upon arrival, deputies found two people had been shot, and a female, identified as Mikayla Paulus, was performing CPR on one of the victims. That victim, Adam Simjee, was unable to be revived and was pronounced dead at the scene, deputies said.

Paulus and Simjee, who had been dating for four and half years, had taken a spontaneous road trip before returning to college in central Florida, AL.com reported. Simjee was about to begin the finance program at the University of Central Florida, where Paulus is beginning work on her master’s degree.

“I guess our moms felt something because they didn’t want us to go and told us to be safe,” Paulus told AL.com. “I told my mom we would be safe because Adam had his gun.”

Deputies said that Paulus and Simjee had been approached by a woman who tried to rob them at gunpoint. Deputies said Simjee was armed, and shot the would-be robber, who was identified as Yasmine Hider. Hider remains in a hospital, where she underwent surgery for her injuries, deputies said in the news release.

“I lost the love of my life,” Paulus told AL.com. “This will be with me forever.”

Deputies said in the news release that their investigation revealed a second woman was present during the robbery and had run away after shots were fired. Deputies also said that they “received information that there ‘may be’ a group of people ‘living off the grid’ somewhere in the National Forest.”

When deputies investigated, they said they found a group of tents that had been set up in the National Forest in what they described as a “base camp.” In the news release, deputies said that they saw a woman standing near the tents and ordered her to the ground, but as they did so “a 5-year-old child ran from the woods holding a loaded shotgun.” Deputies told the child to put the gun down, which they eventually did after continuing to the woman’s location.

The woman was later identified as Krystal Pinkins, the child’s mother and the woman who ran from the scene of the attempted robbery, deputies said in the news release. Deputies said they did not see any other people using the camp.

Pinkins was charged with murder, kidnapping and robbery and was taken to jail, WBMA reported. Deputies told the station that Hider will face murder, kidnapping and robbery charges as well when she is released from the hospital.

Paulus told AL.com that Simjee died protecting her.

“If he didn’t have his gun, I don’t know if I would have made it. So, he really is my hero and that’s exactly something he would do. … There’s no way this is my real life right now. It’s absolutely horrible.”

A GoFundMe was created to help Simjee’s family pay for funeral and burial costs.

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