‘There’s no words’: Vigil remembers mother, 3 children shot and killed inside Chesterfield home

Quadruple homicide suspect behind bars in Maryland
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:29 PM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Friends, family, and community members gathered outside Salem Church Middle School on Monday to honor a Chesterfield family who was shot and killed on Friday.

JoAnna Cottle and her three children, 13-year-old Kaelyn Parson and 4-year-old twins Kinsey and Jayson Cottle, were found shot and killed inside their home along Laurel Oak Road early Friday morning.

Joanna Cottle and her children - Kaelyn and twins Kinsey and Jayson - were found dead from...
Joanna Cottle and her children - Kaelyn and twins Kinsey and Jayson - were found dead from gunshot wounds on Nov. 18.(Family photo)

JoAnna’s family members organized the vigil, including her cousin Stephen Bradshaw, who said he’s still trying to describe how this tragic loss feels.

“There’s ... there’s no words,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said his cousin loved being a mom and sharing her kids with their family.

Over the last few days, he could only think about when her kids would want to play in her parent’s backyard.

“Every day they wanted to be in the pool, even when it was cold outside, and that’s been the hardest thing to look out in the backyard, and the babies aren’t out there playing,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said the oldest child, Kaelyn loved to be at school with her teacher and friends.

Out of the dozens who gathered at Monday’s vigil, many were Kaelyn’s classmates.

“It’s hard being a family member and being an adult and having someone taken away, but when you’re young, and you’re at school the day before with your best friend or whatnot, and then all of a sudden they’re gone,” Bradshaw said. “These kids are hurting.”

As they continue to grieve, Bradshaw said they’re thankful for the support the Chesterfield community has shown and will continue to need it in the days ahead.

“Four angels gained their wings on Friday, and we got great comfort in that,” Bradshaw said.

A funeral service will be held for the family next Tuesday at noon at Destination Church in Prince George. The family says all are welcome to attend.

The Cottle children - 13-year-old Kaelyn, and 4-year-old twins Kinsey and Jayson.
The Cottle children - 13-year-old Kaelyn, and 4-year-old twins Kinsey and Jayson. (Family photo)

On Nov. 18, Chesterfield Police got a call about a disturbance in the home early Friday morning before 5 a.m. from 39-year-old JoAnna Cottle about a suspicious person outside of her home.

“We don’t know if she was already awake or what caused her to see him, but she saw him outside first, and she made contact with us, and obviously we could hear shots fired, and the phone line went silent,” said Chris Hensley with the Chesterfield County Police Department on Friday afternoon.

When officers went to the home, they found JoAnna Cottle and her three children shot and killed inside the house.

For more than 10 hours on Friday, investigators were on the scene piecing together what led up to this quadruple homicide.

Their investigation led them to Jonah Adams, who ATF agents arrested near his Waldorf, Maryland home on Friday.

Jonah Adams was arrested near his home in Maryland.
Jonah Adams was arrested near his home in Maryland.(Chesterfield County Police Department)

“We were able to put him in the area around 4 a.m. right before the murders, and like I said, when we look at these, and you don’t have a lot to go on, you’re going to look at who does this person know, who are their relationships with and then we push from there on an investigative standpoint,” Hensley said on Friday.

Adams faces four counts of first-degree murder in relation to Friday’s quadruple homicide.

Police also said Adams was previously in a relationship with JoAnna Cottle and is the father to twins Kinsey and Jayson Cottle.

Court records show Adams is being held without bond and will have a status hearing in Charles County, Maryland, on Dec. 7 at 9:30 a.m.