JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF)
“The cause of death is officially ‘undetermined,’” said Sgt. Aaron Ellenberger of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. “Foul play is ruled out. There were no bullets or fragments found. It may have been either accident or suicide. This case is closed.”
For the family of Joni Davis, the suggestions that this was a murder-suicide do not mesh with the evidence or with Brian Goff’s character.
“He washed all his clothes that day,” said Jackie Davis Newell, Joni’s sister. “He laid out money for the week for food. He went to Pizza Hut for dinner and brought home the leftover pizza.”
“He took good care of her,” said Paul Newell. “He loved her. There’s no other way to say it. And he was a good man.”
And suggestions of an accident with the car veering off the road didn’t ring true either.
They said he would never have voluntarily driven his vintage car on a road with ruts and potholes.
And they don’t believe the car was there in the river, just 15 feet from shore, where people picnic and swim, for the entire three years.
They’ve heard disturbing rumors.
“They say that car was put there after the river was searched,” said Newell. “The Belmont County Sheriff’s Department searched the river from Steubenville to Wheeling Island and found nothing.”
So now they move forward, planning a memorial service, with the news that the cause of death is undetermined, and the case is closed.
“I have the closure of knowing where she is now and having her back,” said Davis Newell. “But not knowing how the car ended up in the river or what happened to them just eats me alive.”