Family members are grieving the death of a Mobile mother who deputies found near Madisonville, Louisiana.
They say preliminary autopsy results show 26-year-old Melinda Denny was stabbed 12 times in the back.
“This is just absolutely devastating I’m still in shock. I still find it hard to believe. You keep shaking your head not wanting to believe it,” said Denny’s Aunt, Pamela Madden-Watts.
Watts said Denny left Alabama Thursday, February 20 to go help her friend Jonathan Nall and never returned.
“He called (and) he was frantic. He was upset. He needed a ride, and she was the type of person who would drop anything to go help somebody and that’s what she did,” Watts said.
Officials said Nall was taken into custody Saturday, February 22 after a two hour standoff with investigators where he threatened to kill himself.
Denny was no where to be found.
“It’s absolutely scary. We were hoping she ran off into the woods or was hiding,” Watts said.
Family said Denny had a genuine gentle heart and was a great mother to her four kids.
“The hardest part is the kids are going to be without a mother who loves them more than anything. All of us are taking this hard. Every last one of us,” Watts said.
Nall was in protective custody at Greenbrier Behavioral Health Hospital Saturday, and on Tuesday was booked in the St. Tammany Parish Jail charged with terrorizing and resisting an officer.
Fox10 News learned Nall will be examined by two psychiatrists to see if he is competent. Right now there’s a competency hearing scheduled for April 4.
“Now the investigation goes into the next phase. As I said, it almost starts all over again, where we piece all of the events together. We believe it will ultimately lead to the arrest of Mr. Nall,” investigators said.