HENRY COUNTY, Va. – Tears flowed in a standing-room-only church in Henry County Wednesday night as people sang, told stories and read a poem for 20-year-old Na’jada Joyce.
Joyce and her boyfriend, Jalen Millner, were killed last Friday in what state police believe was a murder-suicide.
Joyce and Millner were found with gunshot wounds in Millner’s car after it crashed on Soapstone Road. As of Wednesday, state police were still investigating exactly what happened.
A search warrant for the car reveals state police collected a pistol, 10 cartridges, two cellphones, five cartridge casings, a metal fragment, and a bag containing “green plant material.”
Court documents also show investigators searched Millner’s house and took an iPhone, believed to be Millner’s, they found in his bedroom.
“When you’re young and call yourself in love, you don’t think. We, as parents, tried everything we could to separate them," said Joyce’s mother, Tilphanie Joyce.
She doesn’t blame anyone for what happened.
“It’s no one’s fault, it’s no one’s fault," Joyce said. "God just wanted an angel.”
At the scene Friday, she said Jalen had threatened to kill himself and her daughter.
Speaking during the vigil, Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry called the deaths an unimaginable tragedy.
“There is no relationship that needs to be built when someone can say out of their mouth they have harmful thoughts about themselves," Perry said. "If someone ever starts this path, you need to get a distance, you need to use your family. Can you pray for a person, can you help them, can you say encouraging words? Yes, you can. You can help them see the path they need to get help, but you need to get yourself away.”
After everyone spoke, those gathered to honor Na’jada lit candles and sang a final song before a benediction and a balloon release.
“What you see today is what made Jada who she is and who she was; because of the love from the community, and the support from the community, and respect and respect from the community," Na’jada’s cousin, Jarry Martin said.
“She received her wings and the way I look at it, she has a new address: she lives on Heavenly Road,” Joyce’s mother said.
Another candlelight vigil is planned for 7 p.m. Friday at the Ridgeway Ruritan building in Henry County.