This is an update on a case we reported on yesterday. The mother of the 16-month-old boy who was shot to death by father RONNIE BOHANNON during visitation is now adding new and interesting information about the father.
1) Seems that Dad has a criminal record, and has served time in prison before (for what is not specified).
2) Note that when the divorce was in process and before there were any custody/visitation orders, Dad refused to let mom see the kids for six weeks (fathers rights people will routintely tell you that only mothers do this). Unless it's a protective parent trying to shield the child from an abusive or neglectful parent, withholding contact is very typically seen with abusers and their "need" to control/punish the one who is leaving them. Mom only got custody on July 8--hardly a month ago--so I doubt the basic dynamic has changed much since then.
3) Also note that the mom contacted Child Protective Services to have dad's new home checked out for "how safe it was." This is not typically done unless somebody has serious concerns.
The mother is obviously leaving out a lot of the back story here, either out of privacy concerns or something else. While Mom is obviously trying be politically correct and polite--Bonahan was "a great dad" ad nauseum--reading between the lines tells a different story entirely. I suspect that Dad was pretty bad news from the get-go, and didn't "suddenly" have a little accident with a gun one day that just happened to result in the death of a child. We'll see what comes out when Dad goes to trial.
Published: August 20, 2009 11:29 pm
Mother talks about tragedy that took youngest son’s life
By Lisa Trigg The Tribune-Star
NORTH TERRE HAUTE — The tragedy of recent days has given Jamie Bohannon tired, tearful eyes.
Today, she will bury her youngest son, Travis — a chubby, 16-month-old toddler whose smiling face lights up the many photos her family shares.Thursday morning, the 26-year-old mother talked to the Tribune-Star about the death of her son last Sunday, and the arrest of the child’s father on criminal charges that include reckless homicide.
“He’s the only one who looked like me,” she said, gazing at the laughing image of her young son. His older brother, Sean, she explained, looks more like his father.
Jamie, who lives in North Terre Haute, dropped off Travis and his 4-year-old brother at the home of their father, Ronnie Bohannon, on the evening of Aug. 13.
She had confidence that the mobile home where Bohannon lived with his girlfriend was safe, she said, since she had called Child Protective Services in Greene County to have the residence checked out.
Jamie said she knew Ronnie’s girlfriend had three children of her own living with them in Midland, a small community between Jasonville and Linton along Indiana 59. She wanted to make sure that adding her two sons during their visitation was not an overload on the couple or their dwelling.
“I didn’t know the environment, or how safe it was,” she said.
Jamie was granted custody of her two sons July 8 as the couple’s divorce went before Vigo Superior Court Judge David Bolk. At that time, Ronnie had kept Travis with him for six weeks without returning him to Jamie. But since there was no visitation or custody order at that time, Ronnie was not breaking the law.
“Since then, he’s done exactly as he should have,” Jamie said of Ronnie as a father. “They’ve come back fed. They’ve come back clean. He brought them back on time.”
While their marriage did not work out, Jamie called Ronnie “a great dad” as far as his previous interaction with the children.
When Jamie received word Sunday night that her youngest son had been killed by a gunshot wound to the head, she said, she was told it was an “accidental shooting.”
Ronnie reportedly told authorities that he had been pushing Travis in a stroller and Sean was with them when a bullet struck the toddler and he slumped over. An autopsy showed that the bullet entered and exited the toddler’s head, but investigators at the scene could not find a bullet or shell casing or a gun.
Greene County authorities arrested Ronnie on Tuesday on an unrelated Vigo County warrant. Early Thursday, they announced that he had been charged with five felonies and two misdemeanors in connection with the child’s death.
On the night of the shooting, investigators questioned 4-year-old Sean about what happened to Travis, his “Bubby,” before they released him to his mother. On Wednesday evening, Jamie took Sean back to Greene County so the child could once again talk with investigators about what happened that evening his brother died.
Sean has been “doing all right” since that night, his mother said.
“He understands some parts of it. Other parts he doesn’t,” said Marilyn Miller, grandmother to Travis and Sean, and mother of Jamie.
Sean still wants to go visit his brother, Miller said, and he wants to play with him.
Sean, like everyone in the family, called Travis by his nickname “Fat Boy.” The child was 9 pounds, 2 ounces at birth, a big, healthy baby. One of the photos Jamie has shows a crawling Travis getting into mischief, his eyes sparkling. Another photo taken just days before he died shows him standing next to a well pump in Moonshine, Ill., where he had gone with his grandparents.
Jamie met her estranged husband when they worked together in Greencastle. They became a couple in 2003, and were married in 2005.
Jamie knew that Ronnie had served time in prison when he was 18 years old. But since being released in 2000, he had stayed out of trouble, she said. She said she did know that Ronnie was reported with a handgun in his possession a few weeks ago, but she didn’t know how many guns were in his home.
When asked if she’d had any contact with him since the shooting, she said, “I talked to Ronnie. He says he’s sorry.” Then she shrugged.
She has been comforted by the support of her family, friends and co-workers, but her sadness is not likely to end soon. The funeral for Travis is set for today at Mattox-Wood Funeral Home.
“There’s not a whole lot to say,” Jamie says tearfully, “except we miss him, and we love him, and he’s not coming back home.”