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Slain Chesterfield mother loved her kids, had 'huge heart,' sisters says

Aunt: 'They were amazing kids... If you talk to anyone at her school, they'd tell you she was'
JoAnna Cottle and her three children, 13-year-old Kaelyn Parson, and 4-year-old twins Kinsey and Jayson Cottle.
Posted at 8:23 PM, Nov 19, 2022

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — A tight knit family is dealing with a sudden and unimaginable loss after a mother and her three children were killed inside their Chester home early Friday morning.

The bodies were discovered at a home in the 4200 block of Laurel Oak Road after police responded to a 911 call about a disturbance just before 5 a.m.

Chesterfield Police identified the victims as 39-year-old JoAnna Cottle and her three children, 13-year-old Kaelyn Parson and 4-year-old twins Kinsey and Jayson Cottle.

JoAnna Cottle and her three children, 13-year-old Kaelyn Parson, and 4-year-old twins Kinsey and Jayson Cottle.
JoAnna Cottle and her three children, 13-year-old Kaelyn Parson, and 4-year-old twins Kinsey and Jayson Cottle.

JoAnna Cottle's sister told Jon Burkett that the 39-year-old had a "huge heart and loved [her children] and our family."

Hours after the crime, federal agents and police in Maryland arrested 35-year-old Navy veteran Jonah Adams, the father of the twins.

Jonah Adams
Jonah Adams

"It took me a second because there hadn't been anything about him recently," Cottle's sister said.

She said her sister and Adams broke up before the babies were born.

"After their birth there was a period where they were trying to work things out, but reconciliation never came to fruition," Cottle's sister said. "Really the only connection they had left was a small amount of child support that would come out of Adams' check."

Kaelyn Parson and twins Kinsey and Jayson Cottle.
Kaelyn Parson and twins Kinsey and Jayson Cottle.

Cottle's friends, Kaelyn's middle school classmates and neighbors woke up to the horrifying sound of shots fired, a crime scene and detectives knocking on doors and asking questions.

Their aunt remembered the three children as "amazing" and "smart."

Kaelyn expressed herself through art, according to her aunt. And one of her favorite drawings of a hummingbird is symbolic as all four have now gained their wings, she said.

"They were amazing kids," she said. "Smart — I mean Kaelyn, if you talk to anyone at her school, they'd tell you she was. They all loved her."

The twins were full of life and loved to start a conversation by saying, "I have a question," Cottle's sister remembered.

Kaelyn Parson and twins Kinsey and Jayson Cottle.

Police: Mother called 911 about 'possible intruder'

Crime Insider sources told Burkett that Adams came to the house around 4 a.m. That is when those sources said Cottle called 911 after she saw him outside the home wearing a type of camouflage mask.

"Ms. Cottle, the mother of the three children, called in reference to a possible intruder. As of our officers were responding, we were able to hear gunshots," Lt. Col. Chris Hensley with Chesterfield Police said Friday. "Once the officers got on scene, they immediately entered the residence to find the suspect was gone. And then they found the four deceased victims... all from gunshot wounds."

Cottle family murder Chesterfield Quadruple Homicide

Burkett said officers found Cottle had previously filed for a protective order, but that it was denied by a judge. As a result, police focused their investigation on Adams and his whereabouts.

"Police were able to get information pretty quickly that Adams, from Clinton, Maryland, was in Chesterfield County around the time of the disturbance call and murders," Burkett said.

Hensley said the department coordinated with AFT agents and law enforcement in Richmond and Maryland, so officers "were able to establish surveillance upon his residence in Maryland where he was seen and taken into custody."

Jonah Adams
Jonah Adams

Adams is being held without bond at the Charles County Jail in Maryland awaiting an extradition hearing. He is facing four counts of first-degree murder.

If you have information about the case that could help detectives, call Chesterfield County Police at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for complete coverage of this story. Anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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