A mother and her three children were killed by her former lover and the father of two of the children, according to authorities.
On Friday morning, at about 4 a.m., Joanna Cottle dialled 911 to report a "possible intruder" inside her Chesterfield, Virginia, home but by the time officers responded to the scene, she and her children were found deceased.
Cottle Filed Protective Order Against Suspect but was Denied by a Judge
The dispatcher reportedly heard gunshots during the 911 call. Investigators subsequently identified the intruder as Cottle's former boyfriend, Jonah Adams, and arrested him from his home in Waldorf, Maryland.
Chesterfield County Police Lt. Col. Chris Hensley said Adams became the prime suspect after they learned that Cottle, 39, had filed for a protective order against him, but was denied by a judge.
Hensley said Cottle called 911 after spotting someone outside her home wearing a camouflage mask early Friday morning. "She remained on the line with us as the intruder made entry," he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "There was gunfire and then silence. But our officers were on the way and immediately made entry. The suspect obviously was not there. But of course, they found the four victims, all deceased."
Aside from Cottle, officers found 13-year-old Kaelyn Parson and four-year-old twins Kinsey and Jayson Cottle dead from gunshot wounds. Police confirmed that Adams was the father of the twins.
Cottle and Adams Had a 'Turbulent' Relationship
Hensley said a direct motive was not immediately clear but noted that "there were hints of a turbulent relationship" between the co-parents, citing interviews with family and friends. "There was a previous protective order [involving the former couple] â not in effect now â that we identified," Hensley told the Times-Dispatch, adding that there was conflict over their two children, but he wasn't sure if it was "a custody dispute or a disagreement."
Adams, 35, was apprehended on four first-degree murder warrants by agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Virginia. Hensley added that investigators were able to place him close to the crime scene at around 4 a.m. right before the murders.
He is currently being held without bond at the Charles County Jail in Maryland ahead of an extradition hearing, WTVR reported.