Nancy Johnson allegedly drowned her 2-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter before she hung herself, Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch reportedly said
An Alabama woman allegedly drowned her two children before she killed herself on Thursday in what Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch called a “horrific” murder-suicide, according to Fox 10 News.
The local news station reported that Burch identified the mother as 37-year-old Nancy Johnson and her two children as 2-year-old son Jacob Johnson and 5-year-old daughter Mia Johnson.
According to NBC 15 News, Burch said the mother of two drowned both children in the bathroom and slashed her daughter’s throat before she hung herself with a silk belt around the rod in a hallway closet.
The children's autopsies reveal that both died from drowning, but Mia’s blood loss due to her mother allegedly cutting her with a knife contributed to her official cause of death, Burch said, per NBC 15 News.
“It’s definitely not a typical homicide scene,” Semmes Police Chief Todd Freind told Fox 10 News. “It is more brutal than normal, than what we normally see. So yeah, it definitely will test your character when you say something like this.”
The children’s father, Derek Johnson, discovered their bodies inside their Semmes home on a sofa underneath a blanket, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.
“When you enter the back door of the home, there was a sofa to the righthand side, and the children were positioned on that sofa. They had been basically cleaned up by water from being submerged. When the father found the children, they were covered with a blanket,” Burch said, per NBC 15 News.
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Both NBC 15 News and the Waco Tribune-Herald reported that Burch said Derek will not face any charges amid the ongoing investigation.
“Somebody within the system dropped the ball,” Burch said, per NBC 15 News. “I'm not necessarily looking at it from a criminal aspect, but I'm damn sure looking at it to make sure it doesn't happen again.”
The Mobile County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, court records reveal that Nancy and Derek Johnson were in the midst of a divorce and custody battle, with Nancy showing signs of mental health issues.
After a Utah judge issued a protection-from-abuse order against Derek at Nancy’s request in August, Derek filed for divorce the following day in Mobile County, per Fox 10 News.
The outlet also reported that Judge Walter Honeycutt granted both parents joint custody but ordered that the Alabama Department of Human Resources be granted “protective supervision” of the couple's two children.
According to Fox 10 News, Derek was ordered to place a camper trailer in the backyard of their home for both parents to sleep in when they alternated weeks spent with their kids beginning Oct. 1, per the judge's order.
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