Family Still Coping After the Death of a Loved One in Ponsford - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Family Still Coping After the Death of a Loved One in Ponsford

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A family continues to grieve after losing their loved one Shalonda Clark of Ponsford, Minnesota. Clark was a sister, a daughter, and a mother of four. Shalonda Sioux Clark died in late December after her boyfriend of 16 years, Charles Jones, allegedly started their home on fire. Today family members sat down with Valley News team's Eric Crest to share their story, so hopefully others don't have to live through what they have been forced to.

In Ponsford, Minnesota burned debris is all that's left of the home Shalonda Clark and Charles Jones. Here they shared the home with one another, they were a couple for nearly 16 years. A couple Shalonda's mother called troubled.

"It was a violent relationship," says Kileen Weise.

Weise says the couple that shared three children and this home had a bond that no one could get between.

"My daughter said they really loved one another. And I am having a really hard time understanding that," says Weise.

Both Clark and Jones had been arrested for domestic abuse over their years as a couple. Shalonda even tried to leave according to her mother.

"I'd say close to a dozen times. But she always returned," says Weise.

Clark's stepbrother, Justin Keezer, says he had heard of the abuse too. Like much of the family. But didn't know what he could do.

"I feel bad cause I wasn't there for her when she needed me," says Keezer.

But he's here today sharing with all of you. About the reality of what he describes as domestic abuse.

"It's a cycle of abuse. Domestic abuse. And a lot more people should know it. It's horrible and if you see it step in and say something. Don't be afraid to say I'm not gonna stand for it," says Keezer.

So as one family in Mahnomen, Minnesota remembers the young woman, taken too soon.

"She was always laughing and smiling. Her and her oldest brother they had a really close connection," says Weise.

"She was a wonderful person in a very extreme situation," says Keezer.

They are willing to share Clark's story so all of us can see in Shalonda, what we often see in our own loved ones.

"They're mothers, they're daughters and sisters. They're people. And she was ready to leave him. She was waiting and she just didn't leave soon enough," says Keezer.

Charles Jones is currently being held at the Becker County Jail on a two million dollar bond. Jones admitted to starting the fire earlier this month and also said he believed that his girlfriend was sleeping on the couch at the time. His next court appearance will be January 13th.

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