Mom Who Killed 4 Kids & Self Had a Motive We'll Never Understand

cemeteryA murder/suicide plot is always unsettling. But police are still struggling to find a motive for Tonya Thomas, the mom in Brevard County, Florida who killed her own children this week, before turning the gun on herself. Is it any wonder everyone and their brother are grasping at straws and second guessing them?

It goes against everything that we hold dear about motherhood. Moms are supposed to be their kids' chief protectors. Moms don't just kill their kids. But Tonya Thomas apparently did that. She killed Pebbles Johnson, 17, Jaxs Johnson, 15, Jazzlyn Johnson, 13, and Joel Johnson, 12.


So I guess I understand why people are saying the family's history of tangling with the law explains what happened this week. One report shows Thomas was arrested in 2002 on a misdemeanor battery charge for striking the father of her children, but it was dropped. Another claims she filed a similar charge against him two years before that. And then there is the news that one of the four children killed, 15-year-old Jaxs Johnson, had been charged with domestic violence, possibly for hurting his mom ... maybe not.

Is it all stuff that could have led up to the horrible tragedy in Brevard County this week? Maybe. But then again, I think we all want to find a reason so we can wrap this up nicely with a bow on top and say "not my family, uh uh, no way, no how." Fact is, it sounds like the Thomas/Johnson family had troubles. But don't we all? Is there any family that doesn't have a few skeletons? And yet, most of us would not pull out a gun and kill our kids.

These issues may have played a role in the horror of a mom killing her kids and herself. But they don't explain it away. If it did, sadly, every single mom I know would have motive enough to do the unthinkable.

I have to believe that this goes deeper. It goes beyond the troubles of family life. It goes into the psyche. Tonya Thomas wasn't just troubled. She walked past the point of no return. And she isn't coming back. But that doesn't mean the rest of us are at risk. There is no warning sign for something this horrific, there is no making sense of it. It just happens, and that's the hardest thing to deal with.

What has been going through your mind since you heard this horror story?


Image via Adam Selwood/Flickr

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