“Someone in the system dropped the ball”: court documents reveal slain children were in danger months before Semmes murder-suicide

Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 9:33 PM CDT
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SEMMES, Ala. (WALA) - FOX10 News has chilling court documents detailing a turbulent marriage between Nancy Johnson and her husband during their pending divorce in the months leading to Thursday’s murder-suicide in Semmes.

Investigators confirmed Nancy drowned her two young children then hanged herself.

Court records revealed over three months ago, there was a warning that 2-year-old Jacob Johnson and 5-year-old Mia Johnson were in danger, but they were never removed from the home.

“It’s highly likely someone in the system dropped the ball,” said Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch.

In June, Nancy’s husband filed to get temporary custody of the children, and one week later, he filed to hurry the process after alarming information came out.

“A DHR case worker contacted him directly and expressed her concerns regarding the plaintiff’s mental health and the safety of the minor children. The case worker further informed the defendant that she does not feel it is safe for the minor children to remain in the care and custody of the plaintiff.”

However, it doesn’t end there.

Just 14 days later, the couple together filed to dismiss that motion.

“The parties have reconciled and desire to dismiss this pending matter due to the parties agreeing to seek marriage counseling.”

The judge approved, and the children stayed at the home.

“She clearly was mentally unstable, and again, court documents make reference to her having some mental issues,” said Sheriff Burch. “I’m damn sure looking at it to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Court documents from the father’s June request also stated he did not have any communication with his children or his wife, and he feared his children’s safety was at risk.