The precious little 12-year-old boy pictured above never became a household name, but perhaps he should have been. He was described as happy, outgoing, and well-liked by those who knew him…perhaps someone who could have made a positive impact on our world, but his life was taken too soon.
When he was just 6 years old, Jonathan Foster left his home in Houston and went to live with his aunt and uncle on their farm in Minnesota. By all accounts, Jonathan enjoyed his time there, living with his aunt and uncle and their five children. When he was 11, however, Jonathan was moved back to Houston to live with his grandma, before ultimately returning to live with his mother.
Christmas Eve in 2010 fell on a Friday that year. Jonathan was left home alone for a few hours while his mother and her roommate were both at work. This wasn’t really a big deal, as Jonathan was 12 years old and being home alone for a few hours was nothing new. A few people saw Jonathan that day at his apartment, with the last known sighting being by his stepfather, who had seen him at about 1:45 PM. At about 2 PM, Jonathan called his mother’s work and spoke with one of her coworkers (she was apparently unavailable). He asked the coworker a couple questions and then hung up. When his mother called him back at the house, a woman with a raspy voice answered and made some threatening remarks about Jonathan, but then they were quickly disconnected. His mother immediately headed home and when she got there, Jonathan was nowhere to be found. She looked around for him and made some phone calls, but when she still wasn’t able to locate him on her own, she reported him missing to police.
On Monday, police issued an Amber Alert and began treating the case as an abduction.
On Tuesday, a passing motorist reported seeing a body at the side of the road, not far from Jonathan’s home. When police responded to the scene, they found the body of a small child that had been burned beyond recognition. Police suspected that it might be the body of missing Jonathan, but that wasn’t confirmed until dental records identified him days later.
Police were able to view surveillance video from the scene, which showed that at about 6 PM on December 24, a silver Ford F-150 truck pulled up to the ditch. A person could be seen getting out of the truck, taking a body out of the bed of the truck and placing it in the ditch. Homicide detectives realized that the truck matched that of a neighbor who lived just down the street from Jonathan’s house, a 44-year-old woman named Mona Nelson. When they spoke with Mona, she told them that she had seen Jonathan on Christmas Eve at about 12:30 PM. She let police search her home and vehicle, and according to a law enforcement press conference, police found evidence that was beyond disturbing.
When questioned, Mona denied having anything to do with Jonathan’s murder but did admit that her truck was, in fact, the truck on the surveillance tape and that she was the person who had disposed of his body in the ditch.
Mona was charged with capital murder. Below is the press conference law enforcement held after arresting her.
Michael Miller, a detective in the homicide division at the Houston Police Department said that they stumbled upon a “wealth of evidence” when searching Mona’s home, including evidence that Jonathan was killed at the home. I listed all the evidence that is known so far below:
- Twine that is consistent with the twine that had been used to bind Jonathan’s hands was found in Mona’s home.
- Items that Jonathan was burned with were found in Mona’s home, and obvious attempts to hide that evidence had been made.
- Mona provided a statement to investigators that apparently implicated others as well as herself, which investigators say they can prove was all a lie.
- Video surveillance shows Mona disposing the body, something that she eventually admitted to.
- Witnesses have come forward, saying that they saw Mona, as well as a truck that matched Mona’s, at Jonathan’s house right around the time that Jonathan’s mother had spoken to the raspy-voiced woman.
- Mona is a welder, therefore giving her the tools she would have needed to burn a body.
Miller said he interviewed Mona and that he is convinced that she is a “cold soul-less murderer who showed an absolute lack of remorse.” Pretty chilling words. He also said there are a few cases that impact homicide detectives, and that this was one of them.
You can watch the full Probable Cause Hearing below.
Mona’s trial begins on Monday. I’m not sure if there will be any live streams available as of yet, but I plan on updating as much as possible on this case anyway, as it is one that I haven’t been able to forget about. Hopefully, the trial will go quickly and Jonathan will get the justice he deserves.