Soddy-Daisy community plans birthday party for boy who police say witnessed mom's murder

Amanda Jones shared this photo of her and her sister, Joanie Hendricks, in Hawaii. She and her family are now doing what they can to raise hew nephew's spirits after an awful tragedy. (Amanda Jones)

SODDY-DAISY, Tenn. (WTVC) - New details continue to surface in the story of a Soddy-Daisy man accused of shooting and killing his wife in the middle of the road. Now, police and family members say 7-year old Nolan Hendricks saw it all happen as he sat in the back seat of the car.

Soddy-Daisy police officers arrested Brandon Hendricks over the weekend. According to court documents, Hendricks admitted to shooting his wife after getting into an argument. Family members identified the woman as Joanie Hendricks. Police found her dead on the scene and arrested Brandon. At the time, family members were expecting to see the Hendricks family at Nolan's birthday party.

Joanie's family does not want to share photos of her son, but her sister, Amanda Jones, tells News Channel 9 they are doing what they can to keep his spirits up.

"One of the first things that my nephew did say was, 'Will I have another birthday party?"

Trey Thomas is answering that question.

"We can't bring back his mother," he said. "But we can give him the best birthday party that he's ever had." Thomas is a stranger to the family; they've never talked before the shooting. Now, Hendricks' family calls him a guardian angel after he decided to plan a community-wide birthday party.

"I think we decided to put a post out around 6:30 or 7 o'clock and within 20 minutes we couldn't thumb through Facebook fast enough to get all the responses that we had," Thomas explained.

Donations came ringing in and now bounce houses and horse rides will fill the Soddy-Daisy Veterans Park over the weekend. Thomas got involved because of his 7-year-old son, Rayden.

"At the end of the day, if it were my son, and something happened to him," Thomas began to explain. "I'd like to look back, or look from afar and be able to say my community had what it took to actually step up and look after my son."

Jones says that community support is overwhelming.

"Nobody has to do anything," she said. "But the generosity of them wanting to do something blows my mind."

Family members are accepting donations for arrangements through a GoFundMe page. Organizers will accept cash donations at the birthday party, but will also encourage people to donate at the First Tennessee Bank in Soddy-Daisy.

The party will happen on Saturday, starting at 6 p.m. and will be open to the public.

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