UPDATE (9 p.m.): Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch has released the cause of death for the mother and her two kids.

The autopsy of Nancy Johnson confirmed she died by suicide. The sheriff said Jacob died by drowning. Mia was also drowned. However, the sheriff said she had lacerations on her neck.

“When you enter the back door of the home there a sofa to the right-hand side and the children were positioned on that sofa,” Burch said.

The sheriff adds that the two children were covered by a blanket.

Rick Mitchell lives two doors down. Friday morning, he was found praying and mourning in the front yard of the family’s home.

“Just such a waste, such potential, such smart people and bright kids,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he was close to Nancy and the kids would go swimming in his pool.

“She was sweet; she was giving, and she was the one who invited me over for Thanksgiving,” Mitchell said.

Burch confirmed Semmes Police Department has received domestic calls from the home in the past, and a divorce was pending between Nancy and her husband, Derek.

The sheriff said the mother hanged herself and the husband was not involved.

The sheriff confirmed that Nancy left a purple suitcase with her next-door neighbor the day before, which had her phone, clothes and money.

“Which was odd because she had given it to them the day before,” Burch said.

However, the sheriff added that there is more investigating to be done.

“There are some loose ends that need to be tied up,” Burch said. “There’s some things that we were made aware of that I’m concerned about, and I don’t want to point fingers and speculate till we get some of the documents. But what I’m hearing is that it is highly likely that somebody in the system dropped the ball.”


SEMMES, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch is holding a press conference at 1 p.m. regarding three bodies discovered at a Semmes home.

MCSO detectives and Semmes Police were at an Evergreen Court home where a mother and her two children were found dead.

Nancy Johnson, 37, Mia Johnson, 5, and Jacob Johnson, 2, were all located dead. The husband, Derek Johnson, called 911 to report the incident. MCSO officials called the scene “horrific.”

WKRG News 5 has a crew headed to the press conference and will update this article when more information is available.