Niles had recently started his own landscaping business, his obituary said.
His sister, Nicole Gunkel, told the Democrat & Chronicle he was taking steps to ensure a successful future. He was finding success with his landscaping business, and he and Washburn had recently purchased their own home in Sodus, New York. He had recently told his mother, Barbara Niles, that he and Washburn planned to get married.
The couple attended the same high school in Newark, New York, their obituary said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Josh Niles Was Planning to Ask Longtime Girlfriend, Amber Washburn, to Marry Him
Just one week before Amber Washburn and Joshua Niles were killed, Niles had a conversation with his family members. He said he was planning to ask Washburn to marry him.
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.”
He was murdered, along with Washburn, his longtime girlfriend. He and Washburn both attended Newark 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.
2. Josh Niles Started a New Business Venture, Which Was Becoming Successful Shortly Before He Died
Niles was making steps to move forward in his life before he died. He and his girlfriend, Amber Washburn, recently purchased their own home, where they lived with their son, Josh Jr., and his two older children. The older children, Gabriel and Bently, were his children with his ex-girlfriend, Charlene Childers, who was charged with conspiracy in the murder. Childers’ husband, Timothy Dean, is serving a life sentence.
All of Niles plans were cut short on October 22, 2018, when he and Washburn were fatally shot outside their new home in Sodus, a part of upstate New York. Josh had recently started his own business, which was growing, according to Dateline. His obituary said the business was called Niles’ Landscaping.
Nicole Gunkel told the Democrat & Chronicle her younger brother was moving up in life.
“Gunkel says her brother was in a good place before he died,” the newspaper reported. “He had recently purchased a home in Sodus and had started his own landscaping business. He and Washburn were living in the home with their son and his two children with Childers. They had recently moved from Texas to Sodus after Niles was awarded temporary custody.”
3. Josh Niles had a 4-Year-Old Son, Who Witnessed the Shooting & He Had 2 Older Children He Was Raising
Josh Niles and Amber Washburn had a 4-year-old son. The little boy was in the backseat of his mom’s car when both of his parents were shot and killed before his eyes. Washburn was found slumped over the center console of the car with a gunshot wound to the head. The car had rolled into the neighbor’s driveway. Niles was in front of his own house, partially under a truck where he tried to take cover. He had multiple gunshot wounds.
The child was physically unharmed. The image of the little boy in the car near his dead parents left an impact on the investigators who were the first 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.”
Josh Jr. is on the autism spectrum, and is non-verbal, according to a GoFundMe page started by Washburn’s sister, Angeline VanHalle, to raise funds for the child’s care.
4. Niles’ 3 Children Are Being Raised By Family Members in 2 Homes
Josh Jr., the son of Washburn and Niles, is being raised by Washburn’s parents, Christopher and Martha Washburn. He is on the autism spectrum, and he is non-verbal, according to a GoFundMe page to raise funds for his care. Josh Jr. is now 5 years old.
Amber’s sister, Angeline VanHalle, wrote on the fundraiser 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.
Josh Niles also had two children with his ex-girlfriend, Charlene Childers, who was charged with conspiracy in the murder. The children, Gabriel and Bently, are now 10 and 8 years old. Niles’ sister, Nicole Gunkel, is raising the children. She was already raising four children of her own, she wrote on GoFundMe. Childers’, the mom of Gabby and Bently, is serving a 28-year-sentence in the death of their father and his girlfriend.
“Well many of you know my brother josh niles and his girlfriend amber were taken from us on October 22 2018,” Gunkel 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. Niles and Washburn Had Recently Bought a New Home, Where His Younger Brother Now Lives With His Girlfriend
Amber Washburn and Joshua Niles had recently purchased a home in upstate New York, in the town of Sodus, New York. They planned to marry, Josh told his mom a week before his death, according to Dateline. They were already raising three children in the home. The older children, then ages 9 and 7, were born to Josh’s ex-girlfriend, Charlene Childers. Childers was convicted for conspiring with her husband, Tim Dean, to murder Washburn and Niles.
“I thought it was a bad dream,” Niles’ sister, Nicole Gunkel, told the Democrat & Chronicle. “It couldn’t be my brother and Amber. It broke my heart. It’s my little brother. I’m supposed to go before him. He was 28-years-old.”
Washburn and Niles were gunned down by Dean in front of the home they had recently purchased. Now, Niles’ younger brother, Kenny Niles, lives in the home with his own girlfriend. There, he told the Democrat & Chronicle, they are caring for Josh’s two beagles and plant flowers in memory of the couple.