A Clay County man is charged with murder for allegedly killing his wife in Kansas City’s Northland and fleeing to Nebraska Friday after police found a string of chilling messages that seemed to reference the killing.
John Wonder was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action for allegedly killing his wife, 29-year-old Ashli Ehrhardt, who was found dead in their home in the 7900 block of Forest Avenue on Friday with unknown bodily injuries. He is being held on a $1 million cash bond.
Wonder allegedly cut and strangled Ehrhardt in the home where they lived with their two children, according to a probable cause statement obtained from the Clay County Prosecutor’s Office.
The two also worked at the same company, and their employer was aware the couple was going through a divorce.
Officers responded to the home around 10:30 a.m. Friday, after their employer called police for a welfare check when the two hadn’t shown up for work.
Family of Wonder and Ehrhardt met police outside the home and helped them get inside the home. Ehrhardt’s family found her body with a belt wrapped around her neck lying on the lower-level laundry room floor.
Ehrhardt was nude from the waist down, and “Wonder” was written in blood on her leg, according to the court documents. Her left side was bleeding and appeared to have been punctured several times, according to the probable cause statement. Police found a large butcher knife and meat cleaver near her body.
No one else was in the residence.
Earlier that morning, Wonder dropped the couple’s two and four-year-old children off at Ehrhardt’s parents’ home, one of her parents told law enforcement officials. He usually would bring them inside the home, but this time instead left them at the porch and drove away in his red sedan.
When they learned about the welfare check call from the employer, Ehrhardt’s parents went to the home and found Wonder’s sedan in the garage, but not her daughter’s rented Toyota RAV4. They tried to enter through an interior door, but it seemed to be chained shut from the inside. Eventually, they were able to enter through a sliding glass door on the deck.
Another witness, a parent of Wonder, said Ehrhardt was planning to move out of the home on Oct. 1 amid their divorce proceedings.
‘Still feel nothing’
Police also interviewed Wonder’s sister, who texted him the morning of the killing. According to a screenshot of the conversation she showed police, she asked where Wonder was around 10:42 a.m., and he responded with “Hey kiddo. Sorry about the mess. For the record: it’s way easier and much more satisfying than you can imagine. See you around.”
Another witness told police Wonder left him several Facebook messages while he was at work, saying he was getting rid of his phone and going north toward Fargo because he felt like “driving far, far away.”
He later messaged the person at 7:39 a.m. saying he hadn’t cried and “still feel nothing” and said he placed Ehrhardt’s gemstones next to her body, according to court documents.
At 8:50 a.m. Wonder continued, “I’m in the car. I have no doubt I will be caught today. I keep thinking about how she never screamed. Just took it like a champ. What a gal. To honor her, I will not go out by a gunshot (suicide by cop), but hopefully a similar fate.”
At 10:33 a.m. he sent the last message: “I’m guessing they will be finding her body right about now. I started getting calls at 9:30 a.m.”
Wonder was later arrested Friday in Valentine, Nebraska, a town near the South Dakota border about 8 hours from Kansas City.
If convicted of murder, Wonder could be sentenced to death or face life in prison.
Here’s a list of domestic violence resources in the Kansas City area if you or someone you love is facing a domestic violence situation.