Wilma and Jonathan Hochstetler were a normal couple with four kids and ran a small business together. One night, their lives changed dramatically.
Children are strong and resilient but sometimes they are tested beyond what is fair. Sometimes, the tragedy that fate bestows on them is too enormous a burden for them to carry forward with them. And yet, they prove to be heroic in those moments of tribulation.
The youngest child of Wilma Hochstetler, 40, and her husband of 17 years, Jonathan, was with them on September 17 when they were attacked. The Indiana couple ran a roofing business and they had been in Indianapolis on a work trip. The previous day, Jonathan had stopped at Indianapolis because the tire on his trailer blew out. According to WISH-TV, the dad-of-four stayed with the trailer and asked his worker to take his truck back to Bloomfield, which is where their company is located.
Then, Wilma and their youngest child took the truck back to Indianapolis with a spare tire for the trailer. Once they changed the tire, they realized that there was a problem with the lights. By the time they started doing repairs to the light, it was after midnight, as per reports. That's when two men approached the couple and took out their guns.
First, the robbers took their money and Wilma's mobile phone. Then, they started walking away before turning back and shooting the couple. "Jonathan told us that (the robbers) turned around and started to walk away," Sam Hochstetler, Jonathan's father, told Indy Star. "All of a sudden, they just turned and shot. His wife was instantly killed. Jonathan was hit through the neck," he added.
Their 6-year-old son had been sitting inside the truck during the entire episode. The men fled after shooting the couple, who were said to be deeply religious, as per People.com.
Jonathan was shot in the neck and wasn't paralyzed even though he broke three vertebrae. He managed to crawl back to his truck, where his son was hiding, according to WISH-TV. Together, they called 911. The little boy saved his father's life and was too shocked to realize that his mother had passed away.
"He said, ‘Mom’s gonna get up again,'” a longtime family friend of the coupled, Andrew Yutzy said. "He doesn’t realize that his mom is gone," he added. The couple also has three young daughters and the children are just devastated at losing their mom.
Jonathan suffered a broken jaw and face because of the attack but the hardest trial for him might be the loss of his soulmate. "The hardest thing for him is going to be to pick up and go on without Wilma," Yutzy said. "Literally, he didn't breathe without Wilma being a part of it. That's how close they were. Pray for Jonathan, that he can pick up the pieces. And his children, they're just devastated," he added.
A day after the incident, Jonathan's father told the media that he only wanted to forgive the attackers. "I extend forgiveness for the two murderers," he said. "Revenge only begets more violence. My heart's desire for them is that they would repent, to fall on their faces before the Lord Jesus, and cry out for mercy for their own souls' sake," he added.
A GoFundMe page has been created so the family could pay for Jonathan's medical costs as well as for Wilma's funeral. "Life will never be the same and this is a small way to help them," the page read.
According to Wilma's obituary, she "had a tremendous love for the Lord and enjoyed teaching her children the Bible and of His works. She enjoyed music, spending time with her family, and helping other people." It is unfortunate that a flat tire turned into a tragedy this big for the young family, in which all children are under the age of 17.