Crime

After his wife’s slaying, Kentucky dad says he hates his teen daughter

Jenna Oakley
Jenna Oakley

Phillip Oakley, whose wife was killed this month, says he hates his teenage daughter, who went missing the day his wife was killed and was later found in his wife’s car in New Mexico with her boyfriend.

Jenna Oakley, 15, has been returned to Kentucky, Trooper Robert Purdy of the state police said Tuesday. Purdy said he could not say whether Jenna is in police custody because she is a juvenile.

State police have said previously that they are not looking for suspects in the death of Rhonda Oakley, 52, who was found slain Sept. 1 inside her home in Danville. Her 13-year-old stepson found her body when he came home from school.

Jenna and her boyfriend, Kenneth Nigh, 21, of Arlington, Ind., were found two days later in a motel parking lot in Tucumcari, N.M.

“I can tell you I hate my daughter,” Phillip Oakley said Tuesday night. “I do not care about my daughter. I’m worried about the people that I need to protect, and that’s not one of them.”

Oakley said he knows who killed his wife, and “very soon it will come out who’s responsible.”

“The two people that did this are monsters,” he said.

Oakley declined to elaborate, saying he didn’t want to jeopardize the outcome of the case.

He also said Rhonda Oakley’s death was unnecessary.

“This never should have happened,” he said. “I can’t bring my wife back, but I can sure as hell fight to let everyone know that the system failed us. ... There’s other people that I consider responsible for this too.”

Nigh and Jenna were found after Kentucky State Police contacted authorities in Quay County, N.M., and told them that Jenna Oakley’s cellphone indicated that she was at a truck stop near Tucumcari, according to court documents. Police found Jenna and Nigh in the parking lot of a Motel 6.

They were in a white Honda Civic that had been reported missing by state police after Rhonda Oakley’s death. When Tucumcari police ran the car’s license plates, they saw that it had been reported stolen, according to court records.

The New Mexico court documents referred to Jenna as a “primary suspect” in the killing, but Kentucky State Police said that isn’t information the agency has released.

Nigh, who was charged with one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, intentionally hurt himself while in jail in New Mexico and was taken to a local hospital, then was transferred to North Texas Hospital in Amarillo.

Phillip Oakley has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to bring his wife’s car back to Kentucky.

He said he and Rhonda Oakley would have celebrated their third wedding anniversary in December.

He said Rhonda Oakley had worked at RR Donnelley in Danville for 30 years. The day before her death, she had posted on Facebook a photo of herself and a friend at the Belle of Louisville. She had been attending a human resources conference in Louisville, Phillip Oakley said.

“She just adored her kids and adored her grandchildren,” he said. “She was just such a great person. ... She made me a better person. She changed me.”

Herald-Leader reporter Morgan Eads contributed to this report. Karla Ward: 859-231-3314, @HLpublicsafety

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