Mother of Barberton Victims: ‘They Were Good Kids’

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BARBERTON, OH -- The mother of two teenagers killed while visiting their father on New Year's Eve is devastated and desperate to find their killers.

Leiha Carpenter says her children, David Kohler-Carpenter, 14, and his sister, Ashley Carpenter, 18, were visiting their father at his 7th Street Northeast home.

"They were good kids. They never did anything wrong," said Carpenter on Thursday. "I raised them right. I did good by them and some (expletive) took it upon himself to play God and take them from me," she added.

Also attacked was their father, John Kohler, 42, and his girlfriend, Ronda Blankenship, 38. Both survived.

Police released a chilling 911 call that was made by Blankenship around 6:50 p.m. when she repeatedly begged for help, saying she was bleeding.

Blankenship eventually stopped responding to dispatchers during the call.

Melanie Lundstrum says she left the house about an hour before the call was made and that Kohler, his children and his girlfriend were planning on having a quiet family New Year's celebration.

Lundstrum said she did not believe they were expecting visitors.

"It's senseless. Those kids hurt nobody," said Lundstrum through tears. "This family hurts no one. They help everybody. They have helped in this community for years."

Police say detectives from Barberton and other agencies have been working around the clock since New Year's Eve trying to identify the killer or killers.

Authorities believe the motive might have been a robbery, although investigators aren't sure what, if anything, was taken.

Barberton Police Spokesman Officer Marty Eberhart tells Fox 8 that detectives have not yet been able to speak with Kohler or his girlfriend.

Officer Eberhart was on duty the night of the murders and was on the scene shortly after the call.

"The children were just innocent in this, just innocent victims. It's a senseless tragedy that occured to the four," said Eberhart.

The family is planning a candlelight vigil at Lake Anna in Barberton for 8 p.m. on Friday.

Police still believe someone may have information or may have seen something that can help with their investigation. They are asking anyone with information to call Barberton police at (330) 848-6709.

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    • queenieofkings85

      How dare you make such an innacurate assumption…they were good hardworking people…drugs had nothing to do with it…I’m sorry but are you a trained politive? Did you sell the drugs these people were supposedly taking?!? Let these people rest in peace and leave the judging to God!! You people make me sick!!

      • SoSueMe

        Yeah, they were attacked in their home for no reason, right? Poor children were caught in the cross-fire and killed for no reason, right? There’s more to this story. Now, go take a nap.

      • SoSueMe

        Oh “queenie”, new report came out stating these poor kids were shot in the head. Sorta like execution style. Funny the adults lived, but the children were killed. You might be right, drugs might not of played a part in it. Something more gruesome possibly did. Sorry not polite enough for you, but I’m not into being politically correct.

  • Jamie Ulisky Smith

    Heartbreaking story….But I saw Friends and or Family on fox 8 news and things they said sounded strange…One heavy setted lady said like something about if you are man enough to kill them,,come out and confess ???? that was bizarre…Justice for the Family

  • Raymal S

    They know they killed them kids and tried to play it off like they were attacked.They had the idea that if they can’t have them then their mom can’t have them either. Or they probably said they didn’t want to come over anymore and they got pissed at the kids and killed them in a fit of rage. Smh. People will do anything these days.

  • Nicole

    SoSueMe always believes she is right, and always has politically correct information to base her hypothesis off of. Where have the rest of us been??? You sicken me with your heartless comments. Your opinions should be banned from fox 8 and that is just what they are opinions! Usually you are decieved in your own mind elusively reffering to facts you never actually have. And I am shocked you have nothing racist to say this time.

    My condolences to a mother who lost her babies unexpectedly, I pray you manage to somehow find peace. You are living every parents nightmare. I am so very sorry for your loss.

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