Family struggles with murder close to hearts; A sister is left to ask ‘Why?’ — (Visalia Times-Delta)

Original article no longer available

Visalia Times-Delta (CA)

September 21, 2001

By Dan Martin, Times-Delta

For most of her life, she would see news reports of car wrecks and murders, and she would never know the feeling – a weight in her chest, she calls it – faced by families of the victims.

But that would change for Barbara Daily of Visalia on Aug. 28, when a man killed her sister, a former Visalian and graduate of Golden West High School, while her children watched. One of them was stabbed when she tried to stop the man.

Hours later, the man – who had dated the victim, Teresa Ann Allen – was shot dead by police after it appeared he was going to run over an officer with a stolen police cruiser. The events happened in Charlotte, N.C.

“I didn’t really have a concept of what it’s like to lose somebody,” said Daily, a Visalia bank employee. “Constantly I’m shaking … trying to keep myself together.”

It would help, of course, if Daily and other relatives knew why Joel Vance Nash, 37, killed the 30-year-old Allen, whom he planned to marry and for whom, Daily said, he had a lot of respect. But there are more questions than answers:  How could Nash, an avid Bible reader with no criminal record, do this?

Had there been an argument?

Was Allen ending the relationship?

Was Nash abusive?

Was he on medication?

Had he overdosed?

Why did he kill her?

“I just can’t get over that this person who made her so happy would do this,” Daily said. “We want more answers, and I don’t know if we’re ever going to get them.”

Nor do people who knew Joel Nash.

“Joel was a good Christian boy. He never drank. He never smoked,” Joyce McCorkle, who had known Nash since he was a child, told the Charlotte Observer. “He was in love with that girl.”

Said Allen’s father, Robert Daily: “In my mind, it had to be his depression medication.”

Barbara Daily, her parents and sisters went to North Carolina and attended Allen’s funeral a few weeks ago.

Allen’s son, 6, and daughter, 10, were shifted to the care of her sister, Brenda Wentling, who lives about 180 miles east of Charlotte, in Jacksonville, N.C.

The daughter had been released from a hospital after being stabbed while trying to stop Nash with a clothes iron, Daily said. As the 10-year-old ran to a neighbor’s house to call police, the 6-year-old boy locked himself in a room with his mother.

“He’s in the room, poor little guy, with his mom on the floor, bleeding,” Daily said.

Thus ended the life of his mother, who, with her three sisters, attended Visalia’s Washington Elementary, Valley Oak Junior High and Golden West High schools in the 1970s and ’80s.

They were the four sisters. They walked to school together. They frequented hangouts like the Mooney Drive-In Theatre and Mearle’s Drive-In.

At home, Wentling played a piano while the other sisters sang Christmas carols or phrases from “My Fair Lady.”

“She would sing constantly,” Wentling, remembered. “She had a beautiful voice.”

Wentling, like her sister Barbara, said losing someone was new to her.

“I’ve never experienced this,” she said.

She said she’s lost a sister who was funny.

“When everybody was kind of glum, she’d say something out of the blue. And we’d all chuckle,” she said. “Can’t do that this time.”

After high school, one sister, Cindy Daily, moved to Florida. Her father, Robert, did the same. Teresa Allen’s mother, Carmen, stayed in Visalia. So did Barbara Daily. And Allen went to North Carolina.

Recently, relatives had figured she’d mapped out a comfortable life. She did accounting at a travel agency.

She took trips to Europe, including one with Barbara Daily this year. She’d planned to take her father to Ireland.

In Charlotte, she carried a camera everywhere, often photographing her children. She helped the homeless as a member of the Hickory Grove Presbytarian Church. And she was an organ donor, though her organs were too damaged to be donated, Barbara Daily said.

Days after the funeral, there was more death. At least 5,000 people are believed lost in the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center Twin Towers.

For the first time, Barbara Daily, having just lost a sister, would know how the terrorism would affect the victims’ friends and relatives.

They would all have a weight in their chests.

Steve R. Fujimoto/Times-Delta

Photographs of Teresa Allen and newspaper stories about her death are kept by her family.
Section:  Local
Page:  1C
Record Number:  vis10233089501198