Best friend struggling to comprehend after police say Thornton man confessed to killing girlfriend

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NORTHGLENN, Colo. — The best friend of a girl who police said was killed by her boyfriend is struggling to understand how he was capable of killing a “sweet” and “kind” person who “made people feel good.”

Thornton police said 22-year-old Jonathan Eugene Akin killed his girlfriend and then drove 500 miles to his hometown in Wyoming with her body in the car.

Katelyn Neuhold met Autumn Rivera in 8th grade and the two became fast friends. Neuhold was living with Rivera when she met Atkin. Atkin would eventually move in with Neuhold and Rivera.

“When I lived with her and Johnny both, they were good, but then they would have these really bad fights,” said Neuhold. “They were inseparable, but they were also fighting because Johnny seemed to have some jealousy issues.”

Neuhold said she considered herself friends with Atkin and is now struggling to comprehend how he could kill Rivera.

“I was honestly really shocked. I’m still shocked. I can hardly even process this because I never would have thought Johnny would have been capable of doing something like that, especially to Autumn, someone he really cared about,” said Neuhold.

Neuhold said Rivera was kind and sweet. She was witty and always had a joke on hand. She spent several years as a caregiver for the elderly.

“I really just want people to know that she never deserved this, that her life was such a great life despite her having a hard childhood and everything,” said Neuhold.

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