Entertainment And News

Mama Tot Shares Devastating Story Of Game Warden Coming To Her Home & Removing The Sentimental Reminders Of Her Murdered Son

Photo: @momsthewordpodcast / TikTok; @ophelianichols / Instagram
Ophelia Nichols, Landon Lee

A beloved TikTok star named Ophelia Nichols, who is known on social media as "Mama Tot," has opened up about her life following the murder of her 18-year-old son Randon Lee in June 2022.

During an interview on the podcast "Moms The Word" with hosts Paige Saffold and Cyndi Hoffer, Nichols detailed the heartbreaking story of how many of her followers comforted her after the death of Lee before it was stripped away.

Nichols revealed that hundreds of her followers sent blue jay feathers as she mourned the loss of her son.

In June 2022, Nichols' son was shot and killed at a gas station in Prichard, Alabama while selling marijuana to two suspects. Following his death, Nichols pleaded with her followers for justice and admitted that no matter what her son had been doing, he didn't deserve to have his life ended so brutally.

Now, a year and a half later, Nichols is opening up about the aftermath of her son's death and how many of her social media followers were there for her in her time of grief. 

   

   

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"When I buried my baby child, I buried him in the casket with a blue jay feather in his hand," Nichols told Saffold and Hoffer on their podcast. Nichols explained that she didn't know why she chose to put a blue jay feather with her son, but had found the feather a few days before the funeral and noticed that they were all over her yard.

According to Birdfact, some people believe blue jay feathers symbolize a connection with death, offering guidance as people pass on to the afterlife. 

While Nichols had never thought anything of the feathers before, they suddenly took on a more significant role in her life after people in her community began sending them to her in memory of Lee. She even got a blue jay feather tattoo designed by one of her followers.

Mama Tot Shares Devastating Story Of Being Forced To Remove Sentimental Reminders of Her Murdered SonPhoto: suefeldberg from Getty Images / Canva Pro

"After I told that story, for an entire year, people all over the world would find a blue jay feather on the ground and they would mail it to me. I saved every single one of them and I put them in a beautiful mahogany box that is sat by my nightstand on my bed."

Every night, Nichols would pray over the feathers and would ask God to bless every person who sent them to her. 

After showing a video of all of the feathers, Nichols was found by a game warden who told her to get rid of them.

Eventually, Nichols decided to show her followers the box of blue jay feathers that she had. It was an innocent video as she showed the box on camera, and Nichols didn't think anything of it as she explained why she kept them and how meaningful they were to her.

   

   

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She had recorded the video on a Saturday and Monday morning, Nichols got a knock on her front door. When her husband, Derek, looked out the window, he noticed that it was the game warden, a member of state and federal wildlife who enforces the laws in place to protect wildlife and natural resources on state, federal, and even privately owned land.

"First and foremost that lady said, 'I don't wanna be here. I don't wanna do this. But we got a call that you have some blue jay feathers,'" Nichols recalled. After confirming with the game warden of Alabama that she did have those in her possession, she was informed that it was against the law to pick up a blue jay feather off of the ground and keep it.

   

   

Not only that, but it's against the law to mail them to other people. 

"She says it could be $250 per feather [in fines] and I had hundreds of them," Nichols continued. The game warden insisted that she knew Nichols had no idea that the feathers were illegal, but unfortunately, was required to take all of them from her possession at once.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, the possession of feathers and other parts of native North American birds without a permit is prohibited by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), including a blue jay

This is supposed to protect wild birds by preventing their killing by collectors and the commercial trade in their feathers, and extends to all feathers, regardless of how they were obtained. There is also no exemption for molted feathers or those taken from road or window-killed birds. 

Any violations of this law can result in a misdemeanor and conviction results in a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment of not more than six months.

Unfortunately, there are no exceptions, and in Nichols' case, it's heartbreaking that the memory of her son was tainted because of it. 

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.