Amber Washburn was a devoted mother, raising a 4-year-old boy on the autism spectrum, along with her boyfriend’s two children by a previous relationship. She and Josh Niles were gunned down in front of their new home in Sodus, New York, and the mother of Josh’s oldest children was convicted of plotting their murder.
It has been almost one year since the 24-year-old mom and 28-year-old Niles were killed in upstate New York on October 22, 2018. They were planning to be married.
Washburn was born and raised in upstate, New York. She and Josh attended the same high school. She had one sister, Angeline VanHalle. Her parents are Christopher and Martha Washburn. Her legacy lives on through donations to a local autism organization, according to her obituary.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Josh Niles Told His Family a Week Before he Died that he Planned to Marry Amber
Just one week before Joshua Niles and Amber Washburn died, Niles told his family members that he planned to marry Amber.
His sister, Nicole, told Dateline the relationship was “wonderful.”
They had recently bought their own house in Sodus, a town in upstate New York. Together they were raising both their son, Josh Jr., and Niles’ older children, Gabby and Bently. Gabriel and Bently, who were 9 and 7 at the time of the murder, were the children of Charlene Childers, Josh’s ex-girlfriend. She was convicted for conspiring with her husband, Timothy Dean, to have the couple killed.
2. She Was a Devoted Mother of a 4-Year-Old Boy, Who Was on the Autism Spectrum
Amber Washburn and Joshua Niles gave their son his father’s name. Josh Jr. is on the autism spectrum.
The little boy witnessed the shooting that left both his parents dead. The scene left a lasting impression on the first investigators to arrive on the scene.
“I can still see the child in the backseat, gripping his 4-piece chicken McNuggets,” an investigator told Dateline. “I can see it vividly.”
Washburn was just inches from her son. Her body was draped across the console of the car. Niles had tried to take cover underneath a truck. His body was found with multiple gunshot wounds, partially underneath the truck. The couple was found outside the house they recently bought. Niles was in the driveway of the house, and Washburn’s car had rolled into the driveway across the street. She was shot in the head.
3. Washburn Worked As a Professional Baker & Enjoyed Gardening
Amber Washburn worked as a professional baker. She also loved to garden, according to her obituary. Washburn was 24 years old when she died. She was the daughter of Christopher and Martha Washburn, a mother of one and a stepmom of two.
“Amber was a devoted mom and step-mom,” her obituary said. “She loved the outdoors and gardening. She always was looking to learn new things. Her main employer was Wegmans in Newark where she worked in the Bakery Department. She attended Cross Creek Church with her parents.”
Washburn had one sibling, a sister named Angeline VanHalle. Washburn’s parents are now raising her son, Josh Jr., who is on the autism spectrum and non-verbal. Their obituary requested donations to a local autism organization.
“In memory of Amber and Josh, in lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Autism Council of Rochester, 1025 Commons Way, Rochester, NY 14623,” their obituary said.
4. Charlene Childers Said Washburn Cared for her Children As Though They Were Her Own
Charlene Childers, the mother of Josh Niles’ two older children, said on Dateline she had no problems with Amber Washburn raising her children.
“I was fine with Amber being around my kids because she took them in as though they were her own,” she said.
Childers is facing 28 years in prison after she was convicted of possession of a weapon and manslaughter, according to the New York Department of Corrections. She was convicted of conspiring with her husband, Timothy Dean, to kill Niles and Washburn.
The children, Gabby and Bently, who are 10 and 8, are now being raised by Niles’ sister, Nicole Bently. She is already raising four children of her own, and started a GoFundMe to raise funds for their care.
“Well many of you know my brother josh niles and his girlfriend amber were taken from us on October 22 2018,” she wrote on GoFundMe. “I was granted guardianship of his 2 older children I also have 4 children of my own and was not prepared for 6 kids I have no regrets on taking the responsibilities for my niece and nephew they are loved and cared for but I don’t have a vehicle Big enough to be able to take family trips and help the kids get back to some kind of normal, and a lot of their stuff was left in Texas were they lived before my brother took custody of them so I’m trying to replace a lot of things for them, this is a difficult time for all of us and every little bit helps and if you cannot donate please pray for my niece and nephew to be able to get through this tough time thank you all so much!”
5. Amber Washburn & Joshua Niles Went to the Same High School Together
Although they were four years apart, Joshua Niles and Amber Washburn were from the same hometown and attended the same high school, according to their joint obituary.
“Amber Monique Washburn, 24 and Joshua Edwin Niles, 28 entered eternal rest Monday (October 22, 2018), holding hands as they did in life,” their obituary said.
The couple attended Newark High School in Newark, New York. She was a mother of 4-year-old Josh Jr., and also cared for Joshua’s children by a previous relationship with Charlene Childers. The children, Gabby and Bently, were 9 and 7 years old at the time of their father’s death. The couple had recently purchased their own home in Sodus, New York, where they were raising the three children.
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