OBILE, AL – A disturbing incident unfolded in Mobile County, Alabama, as a mother allegedly drowned her two young children before ultimately taking her own life. Sheriff Paul Burch described the event as a “horrific” murder-suicide. The mother was identified as 37-year-old Nancy Johnson, and her children were 2-year-old Jacob Johnson and 5-year-old Mia Johnson.
According to Sheriff Burch, Johnson drowned both children in the bathroom. She also reportedly cut her daughter’s throat before hanging herself with a silk belt in a hallway closet. Autopsies confirmed that both children died from drowning. However, Mia’s death was also attributed to blood loss as a result of the knife wound inflicted by her mother.
Semmes Police Chief Todd Freind commented on the gruesome scene, stating it was more brutal than typical homicide scenes. The children’s father, Derek Johnson, discovered the bodies in their Semmes home, on a sofa under a blanket. The children had been cleaned up after being submerged in water, and were covered with a blanket when their father found them.
Sheriff Burch confirmed that Derek Johnson will not face any charges in the ongoing investigation. He also expressed concern about the system’s failure to prevent such a tragedy, vowing to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Court records indicate that Nancy and Derek Johnson were in the midst of a divorce, as well as a custody battle over the kids. Nancy had shown signs of mental health issues. After a protection-from-abuse order was issued against Derek at Nancy’s request, Derek filed for divorce the next day. The judge granted both parents joint custody but ordered the Alabama Department of Human Resources to supervise the children’s welfare.