An Oklahoma City man pleaded today for the return of his 7-year-old daughter, Aja Johnson, who had not been seen since her mother’s body was found Sunday in Comanche County.
“I’m here to make a plea for everyone who’s listening and every parent who is out there that I need my little girl back,” J.J. Johnson said during a news conference in Oklahoma City. “Take her to a safe spot, and I’ll come and get her or see that she’s picked up with no questions asked.”
The body of Aja’s mother, Tonya Leann Hobbs, 37, was found about 9 p.m. Sunday in her recreational vehicle parked outside a relative’s house at 203 Minnesota in Geronimo, said Jessica Brown, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman.
The woman’s estranged husband, Lester William Hobbs, 46, is a person of interest in her death and investigators think Aja is with him, Brown said.
Aja is 4 feet tall and weighs about 59 pounds. She has brown eyes and brown shoulder-length hair with recently-dyed black tips on her hair, Brown said.
Lester Hobbs is about 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs about 190 pounds. He has hazel eyes and brown hair. He no longer has a goatee as shown in photos provided by the OSBI. Brown said Lester Hobbs has the word “love” tattooed on his left fingers and left wrist, and the word “rose” on his right fingers.
Hobbs may be in a white 1992 Toyota Paseo coupe with Oklahoma tag 577-BPW, the OSBI said. The two-door car has no hubcaps and plastic covers the missing rear passenger window.
Hobbs has relatives in Davenport, where the couple lived before they separated. He also has relatives in Texas, Oregon and Bakersfield, Calif.
“Our main concern at this time is to find the little girl,” Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley said during a news conference in Geronimo. “We already have a tragedy on our hands. We don’t want two.”
The state medical examiner’s office did not release a cause of death on Tonya Hobbs on Monday.
Johnson, who was granted temporary custody of Aja in November, said he didn’t know Aja was going to Geronimo. He said he left her with her mother, who had supervised visitation rights, to go to a birthday party on Friday and that was the last he had seen her.
“Tonya said if the party went too late that they might stay overnight so that’s all she had was a pair of clothing for that evening and that day and her medication for that evening and the next morning,” Johnson said.
He said Aja takes medication for an attention disorder and a sleeping disorder. He said she is a first-grader at Parmelee Elementary School in Oklahoma City.
One of Johnson’s attorneys at the new conference said Aja tends to get out of control if she isn’t given her medicine.
“If she’s not getting her sleep, then her behavior becomes more and more erratic,” said John Branch. “And as her behavior becomes more and more erratic, we’re concerned even more for her safety.”
Hobbs should be considered armed and dangerous, authorities said. He was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in 2001 in Cleveland County, state Corrections Department records show.
Tonya Hobbs filed a request for a protective order against Hobbs in August. In a petition for the order she wrote, “My husband has threatened to hit my daughters in the head with a hammer and kill them. He also threatened to kill me if I left him.” She wrote that Lester Hobbs had a BB gun but she did not mention any other weapons he might have.
The request for the protective order was dismissed in August when neither of the Hobbs showed up for a hearing, a court clerk in Lincoln County said Monday.
Lester Hobbs was supposed to be in Lincoln County District Court on Monday on a driving while intoxicated charge and an arrest warrant was issued after he failed to appear, Brown said.
In 2002, Tonya Hobbs, also known as Tonya Dunkin, received a deferred sentence on an Oklahoma County charge of attempting to obtain welfare assistance by false representation.
In 2004, she was charged in Greer County with attempting to commit a felony and possession of marijuana at the Oklahoma State Reformatory at Granite. She did not appear in court to face the charge and an arrest warrant was issued.