Johnia Berry's Parents React to Arrest in Daughter's Murder Case

By: Kelli Parker
By: Kelli Parker

Knoxville (WVLT) - Mike and Joan Berry are trying to take the last 24 hours in. After finding out on Sunday afternoon Taylor Olson is being charged with their daughter's murder, the heartbroken parents say they drove to Knoxville and are now just trying to piece together a day full of information they've been waiting nearly three years to hear.

"I've prayed so long for this. I really have. I just, I guess I am just numb," Joan Berry said.

On a mission to find their daughters killer, Joan and Mike Berry say the throbbing their hearts felt on the day of Johnia's death is now being felt all over again.

"You go through so many stages of mad, sadder, madder, and sadder. You didn't have anyone to direct the mad at," Mike Berry said.

Until now, facing the man authorities believe killed 21-year old Johnia, the Berry's say DNA evidence will prove Taylor Olson took their daughter's life.

"I'm very confident based on what we were told today that this is the man that murdered our daughter," Mike said.

"What I don't understand is that he says it's an accident. I don't understand that," Joan said. "He kept stabbing and stabbing her 20 something times."

For the Berry's, hearing the news of this arrest came on their 16th wedding anniversary, a day Johnia always helped them celebrate.

"I think this was Johnia's gift to us," Joan said.

A day this year the Berrys would spend at Johnia's gravesite.

After we found out they arrested someone, we went up and bought her some roses, talked to her and left her those roses," Mike said.

Now with a trial ahead, the Berrys say with the spirit of their daughter they will continue this journey.

"I can tell when she's close, when she's there, when she's in the room," Joan said.

"She did so much in 21 years to have it all brutally taken away from her," Mike said. "We need justice for our daughter."

Joan says there's still lots of work to be done. She believes Johnia would want her to help other families dealing with loss. Joan also plans to start a toy drive in her daughter's name around Christmas to help less fortunate children


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