CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY/WAVE) — The body of an 11-year-old girl who police believe was tragically shot and killed by her father in Kentucky, will return to Virginia Friday.
Kentucky police escorted the body of Tasha Jonas to the airport Friday morning, where she will be flown to her mother, who lives in Chesapeake.
Police found Tasha and her father, Lt. Col. John Jonas, a soldier in the Army, dead outside their home near Fort Knox, Kentucky Monday night. State investigators believe 49-year-old Jonas, a single father, shot Tasha and then turned the gun on himself.
A friend of the girl’s mother told WAVE-TV, the last words Tasha’s mother heard from her daughter over the phone were, “Daddy, Daddy, what are you doing?”
“Something like this will rock us for years,” said Vine Grove, KY Mayor Blake Proffitt. “We haven’t had a murder here in approximately 10 years.”
“She was a nice young lady,” Proffitt added. “It’s a very tragic end. We are just glad to do something to get her off to her family.”
Kentucky neighbor Jeff Manning said, “He seemed like a good dad, though, and I noticed that he made a lot of effort.”
Neighbors say he was in uniform and believed he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) before the deadly shooting.
“For us, it’s like, ‘What did we miss? What didn’t we see?’ and PTSD is real. It’s real, and you don’t expect it to hit this close to the house,” said Kentucky resident Nellie Rios.
The Army said Jonas was close to retirement from the Army’s Human Resources Command at Fort Knox. Army representatives said they cannot talk about the specifics of the case or John Jonas’ medical history, but confirmed he joined the Army in May 1987.
He served a deployment in Kosovo and was formerly assigned to the European command in Germany. Army officials said Jonas did not serve in any active combat zones during his career.
Suffolk court records show Jonas and Tasha’s mother, Katrina, divorced in April 2014. According to court documents, in 2011, Karina and John took out domestic assault and battery charges on each other. Those charges were dropped.
The couple were married in Uzbekistan in 2002, and a year later Tasha was born. After the divorce, Suffolk’s court system gave Jonas custody of his daughter, but the parents were still involved in a custody battle before the deadly shooting. A court hearing on the custody dispute was scheduled for mid August in Suffolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Kentucky police have not confirmed a motive in the shooting.
10 On Your Side learned an online fund was set up to help raise money for Tasha’s funeral. Since Tuesday, more than 150 people have donated more than $21,000. A council woman told WAVE-TV a funeral home in Vine, Kentucky prepared the girl’s body for free.