DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Wednesday morning was hectic for the family of Tava Woodard.
Woodard was a 23-year-old convenience store clerk working at a Roadrunner off of North Broadway Street and East Myrtle Avenue in Johnson City. The store was robbed in the early morning hours of June 2. Woodard was killed during the robbery.
“First thing I heard this morning was a phone call from the funeral home, so I don’t know if there’s going to be any calm days in the next few,” said Tava’s mother, Melissa Jones.
Wednesday, Johnson City police announced arrests in connection to the case.
The family watched the announcement but had talked to investigators the night before who told them ahead of time. They said they are thankful to the police department for its communication throughout the investigation.
They also said they are grateful to the community, a community that advocated for Tava and supported her family.
“It’s almost like (Tava) brought Johnson City together,” said Tava’s step-father, Chris Jones.
“Barnes Exterminating put up the reward. We don’t know them,” said Melissa. “They just did that out of the kindness of their hearts. We had a mystery funeral home that wanted to come and just take it and do it.”
They’re also grateful to those who provided tips to the police.
“They wouldn’t have been caught I don’t think if people hadn’t spoken up and stepped up and those people did the right thing,” Melissa said.
But now that arrests have been made, the family says they have one thing on their minds.
“We need to be focusing on remembering Tava and not so much on [the suspects],” said Melissa. “Their time will come. The rest of this week is about Tava and preparing to remember her on Saturday.”
The family invites anyone who knew and loved Tava to her celebration of life on Saturday at the Appalachian Funeral Home on Watauga Avenue in Johnson City at 2 p.m. Instead of traditional flowers, they are asking for potted flowers or plants to be planted in their daughter’s honor.