Police: Body found in river in Norfolk was that of murder suspect

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on September 2, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 3 at 12:21 AM

NORFOLK -- Police said the body found floating in the Lafayette River Sunday was that of a murder suspect.

Officers believe the drowning victim, Jeffrey Watkins, 44, of Norfolk, murdered  24-year-old Shadosha Johnson inside her home in Tidewater Gardens. Johnson's mother found her daughter's body late Saturday. Johnson's 3-year-old daughter, Paris, was inside the home on Holt Street. Her daughter was not hurt.

"My mom just lost her husband, then, three months right after that, she lost her mom. Now, she just losing her daughter, so it's kind of tough on her right now," said Johnson's brother, Dre who has the same birthday as Johnson: August 18.

"She didn't deserve it. We don't deserve to go through this," Thomasine Sears told 13News Now.

Sears is Johnson's Godmother.

"Day One, she came out of her mama's womb, I was there, and I love her," Sears said. "I just don't understand it. I guess nobody will, but with him gone, I guess it's a closed case, but not for us."

Police said someone reported seeing Watkins' body in the river near the 2600 block of Tidewater Drive about 8:00 a.m. Sunday. The location is across the water from Barraud Park.

The medical examiner ruled Watkins' death as an accidental drowning.

Johnson's family said she and Watkins knew each other since November, 2012. She always referred to him as a "friend." Police said they had a relationship, and the motive for the killing was 'domestic related.'

"I just heard the grandma hollering, 'Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!' and I came outside and she say, 'My baby is dead! My baby is dead!'" recalled Juliette Cole who lived next door to Johnson.

Cole was there Saturday when Johnson's mother found Johnson's body. Cole took Paris into her own home until police got to Tidewater Gardens.

"They had to, you know, check her over and stuff, and change her clothes and stuff, 'cause it had blood and stuff on the clothes," explained Cole.

Besides her daughter, Johnson had a 9-year-old son, Rakeem, who was with his father's family at the time of Johnson's death.

"They're gonna know their mother," vowed Sears. "They're not gonna never forget her, 'cause we're gonna see to that."

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