Friday, October 16, 2020

Mom ‘horrifically stabbed son, 5, in neck and drowned him after being stuck at home

A mother has been charged with murdering her five-year-old son after his slain body was found stabbed and floating in a bath before she allegedly told his father it was "good he's out of his misery now".


Jennifer Joseph, 40, is accused of killing her little boy, Devon, in their Philadelphia home on Monday night. The mom and son were home alone at the time, according to police.


Devon, 5, with his parents Donald and Jennifer Joseph.



Jennifer Joseph has been charged with the murder of her son.


Police announced murder charges against Jennifer on Wednesday afternoon.

"On Monday at 10.10 pm... officers responded to ... a radio call report of a 'person with a weapon'", a Philadelphia Police spokesperson told The Sun on Thursday.

"When medics and officers arrived at that location, they found an unresponsive juvenile victim on the residence's bathroom floor.

"The officers began CPR, and Medic #3 continued and transported the victim to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he was ultimately pronounced dead at 11.03 pm.

"The juvenile victim's mother was observed in a nearby bedroom bleeding from self-inflicted lacerations to her wrist.

"Police transported the juvenile's mother to Penn-Presbyterian Medical Center, where she was listed in stable condition and guarded as a prisoner."



In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Devon's dad Donald Joseph said that he found his child's lifeless body floating in the bath when he arrived home from work around 10 pm. Devon was face down and had a cut on his neck, according to police.

Jennifer Joseph had been struggling with mental health issues, according to her husband.


He was able to take his son out of the tub before police arrived but when medics arrived Devon was unresponsive.

“This is so hard for me (to talk about)," Donald said, less than 24 hours after making the horrific discovery.

According to Donald, Jennifer appeared calm and said just one thing to him as he tried to reconcile what had happened. "She basically said: 'It's good he's out of his misery now'," Donald said.

Devon died in the hospital on Monday.


Devon Joseph was "loved" by his family, including his grandparents.

He doesn't understand what she meant by that because Devon "loved his mom and she loved him", he said.



"I still don't know what happened," Donald continued.

"I never thought she'd hurt him.


"If I had any idea about that obviously I wouldn't have let him be alone with her.

"He was a very special boy, a loved boy who played piano and was so intelligent."

Medics soon arrived and performed CPR on the child before he was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Investigators said they are treating the incident as a homicide and an attempted suicide. Jennifer - who had self-inflicted stab wounds to her wrist - was treated for her injuries in hospital and is in a stable condition.



Donald told The reporters that Jennifer had been battling anxiety and depression and had stopped taking her medication in September. He said she became increasingly agitated and aggressive and quickly started spiraling into a "dark" place.

According to Donald, Jennifer suffered the first of "two episodes” when she allegedly threatened to kill him and her parents in September.

“She was getting darker and said ‘we’re all going to die’," Donald said.

"I was going to die and her parents were going to die.

"My only concern was that she would do something to me, I never imagined she’d do something to hurt him."

Devon was the "one person she was always calm around", Donald said.



“When I left that day everything seemed normal."

Devon when he was a baby.



According to her husband, Jennifer's concerned family had been trying to get her professional medical help and she had agreed to be admitted to the hospital on Monday. But a conflict in schedules caused them to postpone her admission, Donald said.

Earlier in the day, Devon had attended school and then met a friend before going on a bike ride with his mother.

“She was the sweetest mom to Devon," Donald said.

"I was stricter and harder on him and she was always the more sensitive and caring one.

"She never hit him."

But ultimately, she allegedly did much worse, according to police.


Police outside the apartment building where Devon's body was found on Monday night.


The little boy was rushed to hospital but died on arrival.



Neighbor, Kyle - who was friendly with the family but didn’t want his last name published, told The Sun he heard an “intense scream from a woman” and “hollering” around 11 pm on Monday.

“I thought it was a drunken person or something of that nature,” he said.

It wasn’t until the next morning when he saw news trucks outside the building that he learned what had happened.

"I had no idea she was so troubled," he said.

“There were no red flags.

“Not a single red flag.

“She seemed like a good parent. A nice lady. She was always with the child. She seemed very attentive. I saw the father a lot and he was always nice. He would drop the child off at school.”



Monica Harris, who lived opposite the family until recently - was in tears over the tragedy on Tuesday afternoon.

“She was a good woman. A good mom. A good friend," Monica told The Sun.

"She loved Devon. He was her life. I can’t believe what happened. I just screamed “NO” when I heard what happened. I loved little Devon, I’d call him 'my little man'.

"They were the perfect neighbors. I didn’t know she was going through this. She was the sweetest person. They were a good family with a lot of love."

Jennifer worked in finance at the University of Penn Hospital, according to Monica.

"Devon used to go to daycare when she worked but they closed it down because of Covid.

"She’s been stuck at home - in quarantine - for months.



"She always had encouraging words and loved Maya Angelou ... she’d send me her quotes and they always helped.

"I am devastated. I wish I had have known something was wrong.”