In a tragic incident in Semmes, Alabama, a father discovered the lifeless bodies of his two young children, victims of a murder-suicide committed by their mother amidst a contentious divorce and custody dispute. Derek Johnson, 33, found his two-year-old son Jacob and five-year-old daughter Mia under a blanket on his home’s couch, about 20 miles west of Mobile. The children had been drowned by their mother, Nancy Johnson, 37, who also cut Mia’s throat before taking her own life in a closet. This horrific event occurred just two days after a judge had ordered shared custody of the children.
Derek Johnson, in an interview with Fox News Digital, expressed his profound grief and shock. He described feeling “dead inside” and “lost,” unsure of how he would recover from the devastating loss. He referred to his wife as his “angel,” despite her history of mental health issues. He believes she lost touch with reality, refusing to share custody of their children and choosing instead to take them with her in death.
Johnson, who has been absolved of any involvement in the tragedy, had sensed something was amiss that morning when he didn’t hear his children from the RV where he was staying in the garden. He had to drill out the deadbolt of the house’s doors to gain entry. Upon entering, he found his children covered in blankets, appearing as if they were napping. A touch to his son’s back revealed the horrifying truth.
Johnson recalled the panic and shock that ensued upon discovering his children’s bodies and later, his wife’s. He was informed by detectives that Nancy had drowned the children in the bathtub. He also discovered that his daughter had put up a fight against her mother, leading to her throat being slashed.
The couple, who met at their church in 2015, had been going through a tumultuous period. Nancy had blindsided Derek by asking for a divorce last Christmas. Derek had moved to Washington state to work as a mechanic for Boeing, enabling him to make child support and alimony payments. However, Nancy’s behavior became increasingly erratic, leading to Derek filing for emergency custody.
Despite a brief reconciliation attempt, Nancy fled to Utah with their children for about three months. On September 20, a judge granted joint custody and placed the children under “protective supervision” under the Alabama Department of Human Resources. Derek now believes that Nancy had planned to kill their children as soon as the judge ordered shared custody.
In a GoFundMe page created by his sister, Kendra Bandock, Derek expressed his love for his children and his late wife, acknowledging her struggle with mental health issues. He also shared his grief over the loss of his children’s bright futures and the joy they brought to their home.