Molly Lillard, daughter of NFL great Al Toon, killed by husband
“Molly was such a good person, such a light in this world," a friend said.
Molly Lillard, the daughter of former NFL player Al Toon, was killed in what police suspect to be a murder-suicide by her husband on Sunday in their Arizona home.
According to AZ Central, she was found suffering from gunshot wounds in front of a house. She was transported to the hospital where she died from her injuries. Her husband, Royce Dale Lillard III, was barricaded inside of the residence. Police were unable to communicate with the 36-year-old and the SWAT team entered the home. Lillard was found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.
Police found the couple’s 8-month-old infant inside, unharmed. The news outlet reported the baby is being taken care of by family. She and her husband had only been married for two years.
“For several hours officers attempted to establish communication with the male with no success,” said Officer Kevin Watts according to the Middleton Times-Tribune. “At approximately 10:45 p.m. SWAT officers were able to make entry into the home where the male suspect was discovered deceased from what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
“At this point in the investigation all indications are that this was a murder-suicide,” he continued.
Molly Lillard was a 2010 graduate of Middleton High School where she played varsity volleyball. During her time in high school, she led Middleton to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament in both 2008 and 2009. She was a two-time captain, was named second-team all-state twice, and played collegiately at the University of Michigan according to the Times-Tribune.
“I am in absolute shock,” said Laura (McGinnis) Wilkinson, a 2010 MHS graduate and a volleyball teammate of Molly to the news outlet. “Molly was such a good person, such a light in this world. It feels like things like this shouldn’t happen to good people.”
“I really looked up to Molly both on and off the court,” she continued. “On the court, the thing I will remember the most about Molly is how she was such a strong leader, so mature, tough and inspirational. She was able to shake off anything and keep pushing us all to be our best. Off the court, she was so light-hearted, had an infectious energy and laugh and was so hard working at everything she did.”
Her high school coach for all four years, Franco Marcos, also shared a statement with the Times-Tribune.
“I coached her all the way back in club when she was 13 and the one thing that stands out is just how great Molly and her entire family were,” Marcos said. “They were always so great and supportive.”
“She was definitely a really aggressive player and very determined,” Marcos added. “She had a ‘get me the ball’ attitude and she knew what to do with it. When it was crunch time, she wanted the ball.”
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported her during her collegiate career, Lillard was a four-year letter-winner for the Wolverines and earned honorable mention all-American honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association as a senior in 2013. The team shared their condolences on social media after learning of the loss.
“We are extremely heartbroken and at a loss for words at this moment,” a page representing the Michigan sports team tweeted. “The Michigan Volleyball family is sending all of our love to Molly Toon and her family. She was an amazing friend, daughter, teammate and mother.”
Molly is survived by her father, Al Toon, who is famous for his NFL career with the Jets after being selected in the first round in the 1985 draft. According to the Journal-Sentinel, he played with the team until his retirement in 1992 where he earned first-team All-Pro distinction in 1986 and received three Pro Bowl selections.
He is also a two-time All-American triple jumper with the University of Wisconsin track and field team and qualified for the Olympic trials. The annual award given to the state’s top athlete is named in Toon’s honor.
Her brother Nick Toon, played football for the Badgers and went on to play in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints from 2012-2015. Molly’s sister, Kirby Toon, played volleyball at Wisconsin, and the family’s youngest sister Sydney played volleyball at UW-Whitewater.
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