NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson’s mother–in–law, Terry Lynn Janway, secretly battled depression for nine years, her elder grandson has revealed, leading to a shocking murder–suicide that left her husband and 11–year–old grandson dead.
According to 16–year–old Seth Robison, Terry Lynn Janway never got over the death of her 27–year–old son Jordan in a freak skydiving accident in San Diego in 2004. This led to her ultimate ‘snap‘ Monday when she shot her husband Jack, age 69, and Dalton, then turned the gun on herself in an apparent murder–suicide in Oklahoma.
“My grandmother, she was a very sweet lady. If you met her she was the nicest person you ever met in your life,” Robison told FOX News, “And I guess unknown to me, and quite a lot of other people, she had been struggling with depression and stuff we didn‘t know about until it was too late.”
Robison was the one to break the news to his aunt and Johnson‘s wife, Chandra. “She was just in shock, she didn‘t believe it, she didn‘t want to believe it,” he said. “I didn‘t either. My grandma, she was an amazing woman and I wouldn‘t have thought that could possibly happen. It didn‘t seem like it was possible.”
The police report obtained by FOX News states that officers received an emergency call from a female voice, thought to be Mrs. Janway, reporting a disturbance at the home with a gun involved. When officers arrived, they found Mr. Janway dead at the doorstep and heard an additional gunshot within the house. Entering the house, they discovered the bodies of both Mrs. Janway and her 11–year–old grandson.
Robison also revealed there were a number of weapons in the home owned by his grandfather, “everybody is around here,” he said, adding that they did not yet know which weapon was used in the shooting.
“Dalton’s father kind of wasn‘t there for most of his life and my mom had to travel elsewhere to get some help,” he added, noting that his half–brother had been living with their grandparents since the age of two after his mother, Marianne Janway, sought drug treatment.
Johnson paid tribute to his brother–in–law after the tragedy, saying: “He was a free spirit. He was a very adventurous guy – base–jumping and parachuting wearing the squirrel suits, like you see the guys flying along the cliff sides, that‘s what he did. A tragic death, for sure. But he was doing something he loved. He was very passionate about it.”
In response to the tragedy, the 47–year–old racer has withdrawn from this weekend’s NASCAR race in Chicago.
Muskogee police officers have said it may be impossible to know what exactly triggered the horrific event, but Robison believes it was rooted in his grandmother’s nine–year struggle with depression.
“Once people snap, they aren‘t really their former self anymore,” he said.