Man allegedly sent glib texts to family after killing wife, writing his name on her in blood


Law enforcement gather at the house where John Wonder and his wife Ashli Ehrhardt Wonder previously lived in Kansas City, Mo. (via YouTube screengrab/KMBC). Inset top: John Wonder (via Cherry County (Neb.) Attorney’s Office). Inset bottom: Ashli Ehrhardt Wonder (via Lisa Spencer with permission).

A Missouri man killed his young wife amidst a bitter divorce, scrawled a chilling, one-word message on her dead body in blood, and then sent glib texts about the violence to family, according to law enforcement.

John Wonder, 31, stands accused of one count each of murder in the first degree, and armed criminal action in connection, according to an arrest warrant in the case obtained by Law&Crime.

The defendant allegedly strangled and stabbed his wife to death on Sept. 22 at the family’s house on North Forest Avenue in Kansas City, where the couple lived with their two children. John Wonder was arrested later that day in Valentine, Nebraska, according to police.

Ashli Ehrhardt Wonder, 29, was found in a gruesome state in the basement laundry room around 10:30 a.m. on the day in question, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit of probable cause obtained by Law&Crime from the Clay County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Officers initially arrived at the residence after the couple’s shared employer, who knew about their impending divorce, called to request a welfare check after the wife notched an uncharacteristic absence. Family members met police at the residence and provided entry.

It was a family member who noticed the laundry room door ajar but held tight with a bungee cord. And inside they found the worst.

Ehrhardt Wonder’s body was on the floor. A belt was wrapped around her neck. She was nude from the waist down and bleeding – suffering from several apparent puncture wounds on her left side. In blood, someone wrote a terse message on one of her legs: “Wonder.”

A large butcher knife and a meat clever were next to the woman’s body, according to the probable cause affidavit and complaint.

Ehrhardt Wonder’s parents told law enforcement the couple’s children, identified as a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old, were left with them – on their porch – that awful Friday morning. Wonder would typically come inside the house to drop the children off.

Wonder’s sister showed police a series of text messages allegedly between herself and her brother at around 10:42 a.m. that day.

The message she sent read: “Where the hell are you.”

The alleged killer reportedly texted his sister back and said: “Hey kiddo. Sorry about the mess. For the record: it’s way easier and much more satisfying than you can imagine. See you around.”

A friend of Wonder’s shared additional messages they received that same morning sent via Facebook messenger.

“Hey bud,” one message reads. “Sorry to make you the receiver of this, but I have to share with someone. I’m about to throw my phone out the windows and will continue North to Fargo. I’m not trying to get away. Just feel like driving, far, far away.”

Another message received by the friend reads: “Part of me wants to get drunk and watch Shawshank Redemption one last time; however, I think it is time for me to go. Goodbye house.”

A message sent at 7:39 a.m. reads: “still haven’t cried. Still feel nothing. No more anxiety, though. That’s a plus.”

A follow-up message reads: “Now depleted, in anger I placed her gemstones set next to her body. Her third-eye shakra, her moonstone, blah blah blah – a lot of good they did you, hun.”

A little more than an hour later, the friend told law enforcement they received the following message: “I’m in the car. I have no doubt I will be caught today. I keep thinking about how she never screamed. Just took it like a champ. What a gal. To honor her, I will not go out by a gunshot (suicide by cop), but hopefully a similar fate.”

At 10:33 a.m. that day, Wonder allegedly sent his friend one last message: “Some small town in Northern Mo – I’m guessing they will be finding her body right about now. I started getting calls at 9:30 a.m.”

Wonder was arrested roughly eight hours after his wife’s body was discovered. He is being held on $1 million cash bond, court records show, and is still in Nebraska pending extradition back to the Show-Me State. There are currently no court dates slated for his case and he does not appear to be represented by counsel.

Ehrhardt Wonder’s mother posted about the insurmountable loss on Facebook:

In comments to local CBS affiliate KCTV, a friend of the victim said she was just days away from moving out of the North Forest house.

“She was going to move into an apartment this week,” Irene Ecklund told the TV station. “We all surrounded her with items that we didn’t need anymore, and pretty much furnished her apartment with that, but now, it’s over.”

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