Reportedly when Jessi Ashton Jephson, 20, began dating his girlfriend Amanda Orndorff, 19, he got a new family. When they found out he had no where to live, they moved him into the house next door. They also fed him and helped him look for a job.
About a month or two ago, Amanda Orndorff had broken it off with Jephson. Reportedly they were walking down the road when she told him, and he threatened to throw himself in front of a car. Then he did it, he reportedly wasn’t hurt much, but it scared the driver. Mrs. Orndorff set about trying to get him psychological help.
Just after 8 pm Thursday, a relative returned to the home, walked in the door and found Amanda’s almost two year old son Christopher dead. Police were called to the scene and they found Amanda, dead in a bedroom. Outside in a vehicle, they found Amanda’s father Samuel William Orndorff, 60, also dead. Police went next door and found 17 year old Travis.
Police found Jephson’s abandoned pickup truck about 10 miles from the homes. Reportedly they called him on the cell phone and tried to get him to surrender. A short time later he was found hiding under some bushes. Reportedly he was armed with a handgun, but was taken into custody without incident. He was arrested and charged with one count of capital murder and also 1 st degree murder. Reportedly there will be other murder charges and possibly gun related charges added.
I am not clear about the relationship of Travis to the rest of the family. Some articles say he was Amanda’s nephew, some say that he was a boy the family had taken in and treated as one of their own.
The family also reportedly took Jephson in. Did he fear that with the breakup with Amanda that he might lose his relationship with the rest of the family? Or was it that after the breakup, with Amanda so close physically yet so far emotionally? Had she moved on, possibly leaving him with jealousy? With the loss of the family, the reasons why somehow have lost their magnitude.
He said he couldn’t live without her, yet he turned from destroying himself, to not only destroy her, he destroyed the whole family that she came from. The family that went the extra mile to help him.
Travis, a 17 year old popular senior in high school. Christopher, not even two years old yet, a child too young to even know what was happening around him. Samuel Orndorff, the man who helped to take Jephson in and provide him with a home. And Amanda, a young mother, the one he professed he couldn’t live without. A family who had bent over backward to help help him.
This happened in a small town. The kind of town where everybody knows everybody else (or at least knows someone who knows them). The kind of town where murder is an infrequent occurance, suddenly faced with 4 murders, a whole family almost wiped out. The impact on the school and the community is huge. This was a family of their own, a family who tried to help others.
One member remains. My condolences to Mrs. Orndorff and the remaining members of the family, and friends and neighbors.
Steve Huff at CrimeBlog.US has a post about the MySpaces on this.