During an afternoon news conference today, Houston Police investigators said Mona Yvette Nelson, the woman charged with capital murder in the death of 12-year-old Jonathan Foster, may be a child serial killer.
Officers said they are investigating whether Nelson may be involved in the deaths of other children.
HPD Homicide Detective Michael Miller described the 44-year-old Nelson as “soulless,” and said the woman had shown an “absolute lack of remorse” for the killing.
“I was one of the detectives to interview Mona Nelson, and I can tell you that she is a cold, soulless murderer who showed an absolute lack of remorse in taking the life of Jonathan Foster,” Miller said. “There are few cases that impact homicide detectives in this manner, but this is one of them.”
Miller also said Nelson had admitted to dumping the boy’s burned body in the drainage ditch, but continues to insist she did not kill him.
Detectives said their investigation suggested Nelson abducted Foster from his mother’s apartment last Friday afternoon. Witnesses reported seeing Nelson talking to the boy around 12:30 p.m. Miller described Nelson’s actions as “methodical” in the way she stalked the child before kidnapping him.
Nelson then took the fifth-grader to her apartment near U.S. 59 and Laura Koppe, where she killed him and burned the body, according to investigators.
A welder by trade, Nelson apparently used welding torches to burn the boy’s body in her apartment before dumping it in a drainage ditch on Schilder near the Hardy Toll Road. A surveillance camera from the nearby Rolled Alloys facility captured an image of Nelson dumping the body. That surveillance video led detectives to Nelson.
The location where the boy’s body was dumped is about three miles from Nelson’s apartment.
Miller said detectives had recovered “a wealth of evidence” from Nelson’s home.
“Once we arrived at her house, we stumbled into a wealth of evidence; evidence that showed Jonathan’s body was burned at the residence,” Miller said. “Evidence that showed, perhaps, the items that he was burned with; evidence that had us fairly shaken up in collecting it.”
The 14-year veteran homicide detective called the killing of Jonathan Foster “the worst case that I’ve been a part of” and at time struggled to hold back tears during the briefing.
Miller went on to describe Nelson as “bizarre” and someone who “acted alone in this crime of her own disregard for human life.”
He also said he believes Nelson may have killed other children.
“Do I believe she’s done it before? Yeah; I do,” Miller said. “I don’t believe she began and ended with the abduction of Jonathan Foster.”
Authorities have also revealed Nelson has an extensive criminal record dating back almost 25 years. That record includes:
- 1986: Nelson was convicted of aggravated robbery in Harris County and sentenced to 10 years on prison.
- 1991: Nelson was arrested by the Border Patrol at a checkpoint in Kenedy County for attempting to smuggle five illegal aliens from Mexico.
- 1997: Nelson was convicted of theft by check in Daingerfield. That same year, she was also found guilty of theft in Mount Vernon, and served 30 days in jail.
- 1998: Nelson was arrested for operating a stolen vehicle.
- 2001: Nelson pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and served 29 days of a 30-day sentence
- 2002: Nelson was convicted of possession of marijuana in Collin County.
- 2004: Nelson was convicted of making a terroristic threat in Mount Vernon, Va.
- 2005: Nelson was convicted of criminal mischief in Mount Vernon, Va.
- 2006: Nelson was arrested on a battery charge in St. Charles Parish, La.
- 2008: Nelson was arrested on a charge of assault on a family member in Mount Pleasant.
Nelson remains in jail without bond.