NewsKansas City Public Safety


Husband seemingly confesses in messages after wife's murder in Clay County

Clay County Sheriff's Office
Posted at 4:08 PM, Sep 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-25 17:10:36-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City, Missouri, man has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of his wife.

John Wonder, 31, allegedly stabbed and strangled his wife, Ashli Ehrhardt (Wonder), 29, on or about Friday, Sept. 22.

Ehrhardt’s body was discovered later that day after a “check the welfare call” was placed for the couple’sresidence in the 7900 block of North Forest Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri.

Court documents said the calling party that requested the check was Wonder's employer. The call was placed after he didn't show up for work and a supervisor confirmed that Ehrhardt, who worked for the same company at a different location, also wasn't at work.

The caller knew the couple was going through a divorce but still living together.

Once officers were involved, police contacted family members for Wonder and Ehrhardt.

Ehrhardt's mother said Wonder dropped off his two children, ages 2 and 4, at 8:20 a.m., according to court documents.

While he would typically bring the children inside, she told police he dropped them off on the porch and left in his red sedan.

The call to check the welfare came about 90 minutes later.

Ehrhardt’s mother and father went to the North Forest home and attempted to gain entry. Wonder’s red sedan was observed in the garage, but the vehicle Ehrhardt had been known to drive was gone.

Her father located Ehrhardt’s body in the laundry room downstairs while her mother was searching upstairs.

A third witness, Wonder's mother, also came to the scene.

She told officers the couple began dating in 2016 or early 2017, had their first child in 2018, were married in October 2019, had their second child two years later and began couples therapy about a year ago.

Additionally, she said she had assisted the two with legal fees and that Ehrhardt planned to move out Oct. 1.

Wonder’s sister also talked with police, sharing a strange message Wonder sent her around 10:42 a.m. on Friday.

“Hey kiddo," Wonder texted her. "Sorry about the mess. For the record: it’s way easier and much more satisfying than you can imagine. See you around."

Wonder sent a series of messages to a friend through social media, including one indicating that he assumed "they will be finding her body right about now" and describing other aspects of the crime.

Among other messages Wonder sent to his friend, he said he planned to throw his phone out the window while driving "North to Fargo."

“I’m not trying to get away,": Wonder wrote. "Just feel like driving, far, far away."

Several other messages detailed Wonder’s thoughts from about 7:39 a.m. to 10:33 a.m. last Friday.

He said around 7:39 a.m. he had not cried yet and felt nothing but was relieved to have “no more anxiety.”

About an hour later, he reported angrily placing Erhardt’s gemstones next to her body — “a lot of good they did you, hun.”

Twelve minutes later, Wonder said he wanted to “get drunk and watch ‘Shawshank Redemption,’” but said it was time to go.

Just before 9 a.m., Wonder messaged he was in the car and had “no doubt I will be caught today.”

By 10:33 a.m., he had made it to a small town in northern Missouri.

A warrant was issued for Wonder’s arrest Friday. He was taken into custody the same day in northern Nebraska, where he's being held on a $1 million cash-only bond.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office said Wonder remains in Nebraska as of Monday afternoon. It's unclear when he might be extradited to Missouri.

For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at Tips leading to an arrest made through the Tips Hotline may be eligible for up to a $25,000 reward.

Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the KSHB 41 News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015. Read the KSHB 41 News Mug Shot Policy.