Instead, the 28-year-old and his girlfriend were gunned down in front of their house in Sabo, New York. Among those charged in the case were Timothy Deans, a former Texas police officer, and Deans’ wife, Charlene Childers. Childers was the mother of Niles’ two oldest children, who were 9 and 7 at the time, according to Oxygen.
Josh Jr., the son of Niles and Washburn, was there when his parents were shot. He is on the autism spectrum and is non-verbal. He is now being raised by Washburn’s parents, according to a GoFundMe page.
Josh’s sister, Nicole Gunkel, took on custody of her brother’s older children. She also raised funds on GoFundMe to help alleviate costs.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Joshua & Amber’s 4-year-old Son, Josh Jr., Witnessed the Shooting
Joshua Niles and Amber Washburn had a 4-year-old son, who was present when both of his parents were murdered. Police found Niles’ body partially under a truck where he tried to take cover. He had multiple gunshot wounds in his body. Washburn was found close by in her car. She was shot once in the head.
Their 4-year-old son was also in the car during the shooting and when police arrived. The scene left a lasting imprint on investigators who responded to the double-murder 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.”
Josh and Amber gave their son his father’s name. The little boy is on the autism spectrum. He is now 6 years old.
“He was probably a year-and-a-half, two years old before we realized,” his mom, Barb, told Dateline.
Amber Washburn’s parents took on full custody of the boy, according to a GoFundMe page her sister set up to help raise funds for his care. The child is non-verbal, but happy, the page said.
Angeline VanHalle wrote on the page:
I am Amber Washburn’s sister.
On October 22nd, 2018 Amber Washburn and her boyfriend Josh Niles were gunned down and murdered in their driveway in Sodus, NY. Amber was behind the wheel of her car, trying to back out of the driveway when she was fatally shot. Amber and Josh’s 4 and a half year old son, Josh Jr. was in the car at the time of his parents murder. He was unharmed. Josh also leaves behind his two other children from a previous relationship .
My parents have physical custody of Amber and Josh’s son, Josh Jr. He will also be spending time with Josh’s family. I have been asked by several people what they can be doing to help. Therefore, I have set up this GoFundMe page on behalf of my parents and Josh Jr.
Josh Jr. has autism and is nonverbal. He has difficulty expressing himself and his needs. Due to his special needs, Josh Jr. is delayed in most areas of development. He is an amazing and happy boy with everyday struggles. My parents are getting a crash course in parenting Josh Jr. His teachers have been pivotal in assisting them. Now my parents must prepare for their future, raising Josh Jr. to be the best him that he can be.
A month before Amber and Josh were murdered, my parents moved into the home they planned on retiring to. This home however is not well equipped to handle Josh Jr’s needs and will require some modifications including safety around the basement, possibly a fence for part of the yard and other safety measures. Due to unfortunate circumstances, the home my parents previously lived in has not sold and it is not likely to sell without a miracle due to some foundational problems and will be a financial burden for the foreseeable future.
To make the financial burden even worse, the bank is requiring my parents to pay monthly on the car loan that they had cosigned with Amber and Josh or risk their credit. This could continue until the investigation is over or longer. This car is the same car that Amber was murdered in! Now my parents have to be reminded of this tragedy on a monthly basis.
On top of all of this, my parents face the simple reality of raising a child with special needs (I myself have 4 children with special needs and know the financial and emotional costs of doing this.)
The upcoming financial burdens my parents will face seem unbearable but with your help, this burden can be made lighter. Will you help financially so that we can give Josh Jr. a future that he deserves? He was already robbed of his parents, let’s support him now and into the future!
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Amber and Josh’s families, to those who have provided food and other assistance. You have already been miracle workers in getting us though these past few weeks.
2. Charlene Childers, Who Was Charged With Conspiracy in the Double Murder, Was Josh’s Ex-Girlfriend & Mother of His Older Children
Charlene Childers, Josh Niles’ ex-girlfriend, is in prison today for conspiring with her husband, Timothy Dean, to have Washburn and Niles murdered.
The 26-year-old was convicted of possession of a weapon and manslaughter, according to the New York Department of Corrections. She was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
She was convicted and faces a lengthy sentence. Her projected release date is not until October 25, 2042, according to prison records. She is incarcerated in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, where she has been since July 3, 2019.
Childers and Niles had a son and a daughter together named Gabby and Bently. They are now 10 and 8, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. Niles’ sister, Nicole Gunkel, is raising the children in Newark, New York.
Niles and Washburn had temporary custody of the boy and girl. Childers told Dateline Washburn served as a good second mom who loved Childers’ children.
“I was fine with Amber being around my kids because she took them in as though they were her own,” she said.
3. Amber Washburn, Josh Niles’ Girlfriend, Worked as a Baker & Loved Gardening
Amber Washburn and Josh Niles died together outside his upstate New York home October 22, 2018. Their 4-year-old son was present during the shooting, in the backseat of Washburn’s car when she died. Police found her body with the child, who was physically unharmed.
Washburn worked as a professional baker. Gardening was one of her favorite pastimes, her family told Dateline.
4. Josh’s Parents, Gene & Barb, Said Their Son Was an Unlikely Target for a Double Homicide
Josh’s parents, Gene and Barb, told Dateline their son was a hard worker. He was a good cook, and loved cooking, they said.
He was a devoted parent, raising a 4-year-old boy, Josh Jr., who was on the autism spectrum. He also had a son and a daughter by his previous relationship with Charlene Childers. Childers is in prison for conspiring with her husband to murder Niles and Washburn.
Niles had recently told his mom he and Amber were planning to get married.
His sister, Nicole, told Dateline their relationship was “wonderful.”
“Bought a new house, getting their life started. They were on the road to success,” she said. “Everything was going up.”
5. Josh’s Sister, Nicole, Learned About the Double Homicide on Facebook & Is Raising His Older Children
Josh Niles’ sister, Nicole Gunkel, took on full custody of her late brother’s two oldest children. She already had four children of her own. She started a GoFundMe to help raise money to care for the children, but the fundraising page shows only $550 was raised.
She learned about the murders on Facebook. The news of the double homicide quickly spread on social media, as police were in their early stages of investigation. Gunkel saw a post on Facebook referencing the shooting. Her heart dropped when she saw the location of the shooting, which was on her brother’s street, she told Dateline.
“I called 911 and I said, ‘That’s near my brother’s house,'” she said on the show. “And the 911 operator said ‘Well what’s your brother’s name?’ and I said, ‘His name is Joshua Niles.’ And they said, ‘I have no information for you, but a cop will get a hold of you.'”
“My heart sank,” she added.
Her fears were later confirmed when she learned both her brother and his girlfriend, Amber Washburn, were dead.
Kenny Niles, Josh’s younger brother, now lives in the house with his own girlfriend. They are raising Joshua’s two beagles and plant flowers in their memory, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.
“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!”
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