Small community in Vine Grove shocked by family's apparent murder-suicide
On Tuesday, disgust and disbelief filled the neighborhood where an 11-year-old girl and a Fort Knox soldier found were dead outside their Vine Grove home Monday night.
Tuesday, May 12th 2015, 6:02 pm EDT by
Tuesday, May 12th 2015, 6:25 pm EDT
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Disgust and disbelief filled the neighborhood where an 11-year-old girl and a Fort Knox soldier were found dead outside their Vine Grove home.
Monday night, 11-year-old Tasha Jonas died in the grass from a gunshot wound. Kentucky State Police said her father pulled the trigger, and then 49-year-old John Jonas killed himself.
"He was a Lt. Col. in the Army at the HRC building and he was just getting ready to retire. Soon -- like next few days or weeks," neighbor Jeff Manning said. "Sometimes life throws things at you that you don't expect."
Neighbor Orlando Evans said his wife spoke to John Jonas moments before the shooting."The dog started barking at him (Jonas) and scared him. She went and got the dog and grabbed him and brought him in the bedroom and less than two minutes later, we hear two gunshots," Evans said.
Manning had also talked to his neighbor Monday. "He said a few words and as I was speaking he walked away and went in the house. I didn't know if he just didn't hear me or what," Manning said.
The neighbors say they did not see any signs of trouble. We're told the father and daughter lived peacefully at the home for about three years.
"He was a great dad from the perspective I had," Manning said. "He may have just tried too hard."
Evans said Jonas was a single father and the grandmother who once lived in the home had passed away.
Tasha would have been doing state testing at Vine Grove Elementary Tuesday. Hardin County Schools sent in an emergency response team to help the fifth graders classmates cope with their grief. School officials said many students were emotional and already knew about Tasha's murder.
"She was just a loving little girl that loved being around people sharing and laughing. Just a care free little girl," Hardin County Schools' Spokesman John Wright said.
It makes the murder suicide all the more puzzling as police have no motive and no answers.
"[I] Just didn't see it coming," Evans said.
Vine Grove has not seen a murder in nearly 10 years. The local police chief asked Kentucky State Police to take over the investigation.
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