Details emerge in Epping deaths — (Seacoast Online)

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Seacoast Online

By Beverley Wang, Associated Press

CONCORD – A woman who is believed to have drowned her young daughter before hanging herself had repeatedly threatened to commit suicide and told her ex-husband no else would raise their child, according to recently released documents.

Tonya Neihart, 32, and Alexa, 6, were found dead Feb. 13 at their condominium in Epping. Documents released by state and local police reveal new details about the alleged mother-daughter murder-suicide.

Tonya Neihart left no note explaining the events, but investigators found bottles of antidepressants Paxil, Trazodone and Sonata, and the anti-anxiety medication Lorazepam in the Epping condominium where she and Alexa had moved in November.

The couple divorced in September, apparently at Tonya’s request. Her cousin, Gregory Locke of Kittery, Maine, said Tonya asked for a divorce after her mother’s funeral in August.

“There was a big scene,” said Locke, who added that the couple had a history of splitting up and getting back together. The Neiharts agreed to maintain a cordial relationship for the sake of their daughter, the affidavit said.

Recently however, things had turned sour. Her former husband told police his ex-wife was upset because he rejected her offer to reconcile and that Tonya went to his Nottingham home on Super Bowl Sunday and tried to attack his date, according to an affidavit filed by Epping police.

“He said she became enraged, and tried to attack his date, and drag her out of his car,” police wrote.

Her former husband told police his ex-wife had threatened to kill herself the week before her death and told him that no one else was going to raise her daughter.

According to the affidavit, her ex-husband said the family spent the night of Feb. 12 together at his mother’s house, then he dropped Tonya and Alexa off in Epping at around noon, promising to come back to take the little girl swimming at her grandmother’s house.

Returning at 4:30 p.m., the ex-husband rang the bell, but no one answered. He let himself in with a key, and the house being quiet, assumed his daughter and ex-wife were napping. The ex-husband told police he did a crossword puzzle and took a nap on the couch until 7 p.m. When he woke up, he went upstairs and found his daughter’s swimsuit-clad body in the bathtub.

The ex-husband was unable to perform CPR because rigor mortis had set in, the affidavit said. “He tried to pry her jaw open, but it was stiff. At that point, he went to the neighbor’s house and asked that he call police,” the affidavit said.

The neighbor, Mark LaFave, said the -exhusband had a “quiet hysteria about him, and seemed to be in shock.”

According to the affidavit, LaFave recalled the father saying, “What has she done to my little girl?”

Police later found Tonya, wearing a nightgown, hanging dead in the garage.

Tonya worked as a counter person for Comair at Manchester Airport. Her daughter was in kindergarten at Nottingham Elementary School.

“She was a great little girl,” said Principal Kathy Hancock.

Tonya had lost three family members in recent years – a brother and stepfather died in 2001, her mother in 2004.