What started out as a road trip from Alabama to Texas has ended tragically. The body of 26-year-old Melinda Denny, mother of four, was found stabbed to death five days after her boyfriend's dramatic standoff with police. The boyfriend, Jonathan Nall, is believed to be bipolar. Police seem confident they will be charging Nall with Denny's death.
Here's the timeline as police understand it so far. Denny and Nall were traveling from Alabama to Texas. Denny was last seen Saturday at 1:30 a.m. in a parking lot. Nall's mother called police to say they were stranded without money or gas. Police found a gun in their car, but no ammunition. Denny and Nall got back on the road.
But 10 hours later Nall was threatening suicide in another parking lot. After a standoff with police, Nall was taken into custody. Denny was nowhere to be seen. After a search throughout the area, her body was found, dead from multiple stab wounds. Police say Nall assisted in the discovery of the body.
Nall's mother Becky says he is the father of two, has bipolar disorder, and may have been taking drugs. She says in the last phone conversation she had with her son, he told her, "'They are coming, we have to get out of there. They're coming after us,' basically saying they were coming to execute them." Becky doesn't know who "they" are.
Whatever really happened here -- whether drugs or a mental disorder are responsible -- it looks like up to six children were affected by these events. You can't help wondering if everyone around them saw it coming. Was there an escalation? Why were Denny and Nall traveling to Texas? Were friends and family worried about the couple? Did they want to intervene? Or is this a complete surprise?
Whatever signs there were before, now it's too late for Denny. I am terribly sorry for her four children, left behind now without their mother.
Do you think drugs may have played a role in this series of events?
Please call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in case you are worried about yourself or someone else.
Image via Tammany Parris Sheriff's Office