Josephine “Josi” Helmandollar and her friend Charles Seaton were killed Dec. 8, 2020 in a Kingsport shooting that remains unsolved.
The case is still classified as active but Josi’s Mother, Melissa Davis, tells The Review they have not been contacted by detectives for a year.
Josephine Helmandollar, known as Josi, lived in Church Hill with her parents and brother.
She was a beautiful 20 year old who was well known in the community and had many friends.
She worked at The Home Depot in Kingsport and had previously worked at the former Mels Riverside Grill in Rogersville.
On Dec. 8, 2020, Josi Helmandollar and her friend Charles Seaton, 22, of Kingsport, decided to hang out in Kingsport with a friend of Charles, Jonathan Smith. What Charles and Josi did not know on that evening was that Jonathan was facing a murder charge involving a previous shooting.
Four weeks prior to the murders of Josi and Charles another shooting had occurred. On Nov. 15, 2020, Eduardo Oviedo-Velazco was shot and died from a gunshot wound. On April 28, 2021, Jonathan Smith was indicted on charges including first degree murder, felony murder, attempted first degree murder and aggravated burglary.
Josi, Charles and Jonathan were playing video games on Dec. 8, 2020 on Skyland Drive at the home of Jonathan’s grandmother. Josi needed her phone charger and they both decided to step outside to get it from her car while having a smoke. They went to Josi’s red Volkswagen Bug and suddenly were ambushed by gunfire. The two were rushed to the hospital but Josi died on the scene. Charles died 11 days later from his injuries.
Wrong Place At The Wrong Time
There is a theory that Josi and Charles were in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is a possibility that their identities were mistaken in a retaliation shooting, but this has not been confirmed.
Jonathan is black and his girlfriend at the time was white. Charles was black and Josi was white. The murders happened at 11:30 p.m. under the cover of night.
The shooter may have been waiting for Jonathan to come out. However, it is unknown if this theory is correct with no suspect arrested at this time. What is known is that neither Josi or Charles had ever been in trouble with the law and were both considered to be “good kids” according to Josi’s mother who said “There was no reason for either of them to be a target.”
A $10,500 Reward Posted
Josi’s grandfather has posted a reward of $10,500 for tips leading to a conviction. In spite of the large reward the case remains unsolved. Josi’s mother, Melissa Davis has been on TV news shows pleading for leads to the murders.
But they have not heard from any detective in a year. They need closure. Melissa is hoping the investigating TV show Dateline will pick the murder cases of Josi and Charles. They do not want Josi or her friend Charles forgotten. Melissa Davis asks, “Please report what you know. Josi was my everything.”
To this day Josi’s bedroom remains exactly as she left it.
“We repainted the house but I just can’t touch her room,” Melissa Davis said. “Her shoes are still on the floor. Her dirty clothes are in the hamper where she left them. I can’t bring myself to wash them because it is the last thing I have to do for Josi.”
Josi’s Friends Remember Her
“Josi was my best friend,” said Caleb Rogers. “She told me everything and I told her everything. She was always so beautiful and full of energy. You would know when she walked in the room because you either heard her laugh or she was talking. We had grown up together since 5th grade.”
Another friend was Naomi Lewis.
“I got her a job at Mel’s when she moved back from Virginia and everyone loved her work ethic and how kind she was to everyone,” Naomi said. “She was such a hard worker. She had dreams of traveling and seeing all the best sunsets, she just had an appreciation for the wonder of the world that you don’t see in most people. We will never give up fighting for justice no matter how long it takes.”
Keylee Botkin was one of the last friends to see Josi. Josi had spent the night before at her house.
“She was my most beautiful soul and will forever be remembered by me and my family,” Keylee said. “I just hope and pray that everyone remembers how amazing she was. All I want is justice for my best friend like she deserves.”
The Review was unable to locate the family of Charles Seaton for comment.
The Kingsport Police Department Public Information Officer is Tom Patton said the case remains classified as active.
“We follow all leads,” Patton said. Anyone with information is asked to call (423) 229-9433.