Family talks about murder suicide, orphaned daughter thriving

Family talks about murder suicide, orphaned daughter thriving

NEW BERN - A family is still recovering from a murder suicide in which two people from Craven County were shot.

The shooting happened in February of 2012. Law Enforcement responded to a shooting at 611 Julia Clay street. Police said 25-year-old Johnnie Exum Neely shot 20-year-old Brittany Nicole Jones inside the home. Neely then turned the gun on himself. Their 3-year-old daughter witnessed the crime.

A year and a half later, that daughter, now 5-year-old Tiana Jones is thriving. Tiana lives with her grandmother, though the whole family has a hand in taking care of the child.

They talked to NewsChannel12 at the family's request.

"She's my grand daughter, but she is my child," said Lakisha Andrews. Andrews is Brittany's mother and Tiana's grandmother. "She took the place of my child. I'm going to always going to be there for her. No matter what, I'll always be here."

"Brittany was a beautiful child, she was a loving child, she was so smart," said Veronica Jones, Tiana's aunt.Everybody loved her. Every time you [saw] her she had a smile."

Tiana turned five Monday. Both sides of the family came together for the young girl's birthday. Andrews said moving on has been hard, but they've forgiven Neely for what he has done and have no ill feelings towards his family.

"I miss both of them," Andrews said. "I don't have nothing in my heart about what happened, but I miss both of them."

Tiana's family requested a public thank you be sent out to everyone who reached out to them after the shooting. They specifically wanted to thank the New Bern Police Department for helping Tiana recover from the tragedy.

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