Mother’s Murder/Suicide with Four Children Brings a Question of, why?

There’s always a great sense of shock to everyone when a mother not only takes her own life but chooses to take her children with her. It’s most disturbing because of what a mother’s relationship with her children is for most families. Most mothers would gladly give up their own lives to protect their children. Yet here we have another mother choosing to kill her own children before taking her own life.

The mother I’m referring to is 33-year-old Tonya Thomas who shot her four children to death and then took her own life Tuesday. The children were Joel Johnson, 12; Jazzlyn Johnson, 13; Jaxs Johnson, 15; and Pebbles Johnson, 17.

Ms. Thomas texted a friend around 3a.m., requesting that she would like to be cremated along with her children. An hour and a half later she takes a gun after her children. Three of them showed up at a neighbor’s door for help with one of them wounded and bleeding. Tonya Thomas the mother, then called for the children to return home, which they did, she killed all of them.

I’m not sure that all the mothers who have either killed their own children or at least attempted to, have done it all for the same reasoning. I would like to point out that with this specific case, about the fact the mother asked that she be cremated with her own children. This last request would leave me to wonder if she had wished for or expected or believed in maybe, that she would spend eternity with her kids in another world – in heaven possibly. Or maybe it was just some kind of sentiment – who knows.

With this particular case, it’s also curious why these children chose to return to the mother after at least one of them was wounded, most likely inflicted by her. Is a mother’s bond so strong with their children that even with good reason to fear her, the children will still obey their mothers?

These children were not toddlers either; they were all 12 and up with the oldest at 17. Usually a child in their teen years begins to pull away from their mothers and start seeking some independence, you would think. I have a hunch there’s a hole in this story so far and it has to do with these kid’s obedience to their mother after what obviously she had already done to them.

There have been plenty of mothers who have murdered their children, not all sought to commit suicide afterwards, such as Tonya Thomas just did. So obviously there are some differences. Some mothers even murder their children for selfish reasons, which is the case for Diane Downs who shot her three kids; two survived – Danny, 3; Christie, 8 and then a 7-year-old Cheryl who died. The mother told the police that a man waved her down and then shot her kids. Later it was discovered that she had killed them herself because they got in the way of a love affair.

Andrea Yates on the other hand supposedly drowned her five kids because she was insane. It was also presumably, after she watched an episode of “Law and Order” in which a woman drowned her children and then was found to be insane. Maybe Andrea just needed an alibi for herself or maybe she was really just insane. To me, killing your own kids isn’t a sane act in the least, even for selfish reasons.

Children pay a heavy price in this country and in this world because of their dependency on grownups, particularly their parents. Parents make mistakes and then some parents are just abusive. Many times children, who find themselves in a bad situation with their parents when it comes to abuse, never speak out because of fear; fear of what their parent/parents will do to them or fear they will lose their parents somehow. Even if the parent is abusive, the child still depends on that parent for everything. The last thing on a child’s mind is that this person; their mother, would end up murdering them.

The Tonya Thomas story will unfold further as we find more out about this mother and her children. Reports by police and statements by neighbors point to a family that was already in turmoil. It breaks our hearts to hear such a story and yet we know we’ll continue to hear of stories like this, with children being murdered by a parent. Still, it will never be clear to us the motivation behind anyone who would end the life of something as precious as their own children.

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