Mother kills her four children before committing suicide

Mother kills her four children before committing suicide

A Florida mother kills her children before turning the gun on herself. Authorities are still baffled by this brutal crime that seems premeditated.

What drives a mother to murder her own flesh and blood? That’s exactly what the policemen at the Brevard County Sheriff's Office in Florida have been wondering after Tanya Thomas murdered her four children.

Mother kills her own children

On the 15th of May 2012, the 33 year old fatally shot her children, Joel Johnson, 12, Jazzlyn Johnson, 13, Jaxs Johnson, 15, and Pebbles Johnson, 17, before taking her own life.

A few hours before the murder, Thomas sent a male coworker a text message that read, “Tell my mom what happened, I want to be cremated with my children."

That was the only “clue” that Thomas left behind. She never stated what she was going to do or why she intended to do it.

Unfortunately, her coworker did not read the text message until the following morning.

Neighbours try to save children before mother kills them

At around 4.30am, neighbours heard gunshots coming from the Thomas residence in Port St John, Florida.

Within minutes, three of the children arrived at a neighbour’s doorstep, covered in blood, claiming that their mother had shot them.

In the midst of the confusion, the neighbour wasn’t sure if the mother had the shot the kids or vice versa, and decided it was best to not let the children into her house.

Eerily enough, Thomas then came out of the house and called for her children to come home calmly. Although the neighbours told the children not to re-enter the house, they obeyed their mother, and returned home. The neighbours alerted the police after the first few gunshots, but by the time help arrived, all four children and their mother were dead.

Policemen found the Pebbles, the oldest child, lying in the yard. She was taken to an ambulance, where she was declared dead. Thomas was seen at the front door holding a gun but went back inside when she saw the officers in her front yard. The officers then heard more gunshots and found Thomas and the three other children dead at the back of the house.

Domestic disputes reason 

Police said that neighbours often complained about hearing loud yells and screams from the Thomas residence. A police report filed in April shows that Jaxs threw a bicycle through a window and threatened Thomas. He also punched and kicked her repeatedly when she tried to wake him up for school the following day.

The father of the family has not been seen home in several months and lives in another city.

Mother kills children but her motive unclear 

Although it is still unclear what triggered the shooting, it is quite evident that Thomas must not have been thinking rationally.

Perhaps the stress of being a single mother to four teenage children pushed her over the edge, but her actions are still not warranted.

If you are harbouring suicidal thoughts, or know of anyone who is, do reach out to the Samaritans of Singapore on their 24-hour line.

Some sentiments from The Asian Parent's Facebook page:

I won't even try to understand her motive. No excuse for taking away their lives when they are not hers to begin with. We are just guardians to these kids from God. - Karyn Low

When under so much stress and pressure, it may drove to depression which could lead to such a deplorable act. - Rahimah Raffil 

Whatever her reason is, she has no right to take away the 4 children's life!!! - Ina Erlphira Irama

Also read: Mum kills schoolchildren with reckless driving, says she "is deeply sorry"r kill

Got a parenting concern? Read articles or ask away and get instant answers on our app. Download theAsianparent Community on iOS or Android now!

Written by

Felicia Chin

app info
get app banner