For the first time, we are hearing from the children left behind after two murders in Sodus last month. Their father, Josh Niles, was shot to death and their mother is now accused of conspiring to kill him and his girlfriend, Amber Washburn.
Niles’ sister, Nicole Gunkel, is now left to try to explain to his two children what happened to their father. “They were very upset, but we said she’s still your mom. You can still love your mom, but you can also be angry at her and her actions,” said Gunkel of her conversation with Niles’ children, ages 9 and 7.
They were at the center of a custody dispute between Niles and his ex-girlfriend, Charlene Childers. That dispute, police and family members say, was the motive for the murders of Niles and Washburn. Gunkel recalls, “Josh said to a friend, ‘If something happens to me, look at her (Childers),’ because she had threatened him because he had custody the kids, and she was mad.”
Gunkel says her brother was in a good place before he died. He had recently purchased a home in Sodus and had started his own landscaping business. He and Washburn were living in the home with their son and his two children with Childers. They had recently moved from Texas to Sodus after Niles was awarded temporary custody.