Families remember victims of stabbing at Pilot Travel Center


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Families are remembering their loved ones after a deadly stabbing spree at a Knoxville truck stop claimed the lives of three women.

Four women were stabbed Tuesday morning at a Pilot Travel Center off of Strawberry Plains Pike.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, 57-year-old Joyce Whaley, 51-year-old Patricia Denise Nibbe and 41-year-old Nettie Spencer died from stab wounds.

All three were employees at the travel center. The fourth victim, a customer, was released from a local hospital Wednesday. The suspect was shot and killed by a KCSO deputy.

Susan Brown, Spencer’s aunt, said that Spencer had been working at the Pilot for 18 years. She was a cashier at the Subway in the store.

Brown said her niece loved her job and loved her coworkers.

“She loves everybody. She didn’t have nothing against nobody. I mean she even, the coworkers that got killed too, they was like her family. And I feel sorry for those family cause I know what they are going through. They’re going through the same stuff that we’re going through,” Brown said.

She said that Spencer was adventurous. She loved to hike, fish, go horseback riding and do anything outdoors. Brown said that one of her favorite memories with her niece was when they went to Myrtle Beach. They went parasailing and had a blast spending time as family.

She said that Spencer loved spending time with her family. Brown said one thing that her family will truly miss is Spencer’s smile.

“Her beautiful smile, and she always cut up and joked with us all the time. She always had a smile on her face. I mean, she never did frown. Even if she was mad, she didn’t let you know she was mad,” Brown said.

Brown said she felt like the passing of her niece was a nightmare, hoping that she could wake up and Spencer would still be alive.

She said what makes the situation even rougher is that because of COVID-19, the family won’t be able to say goodbye together. Only a few family members will be able to be inside the funeral service at the same time.

Spencer is survived by her parents, and her three children.

Daralene Bowman, a cousin of Patricia Denise Nibbe, said that the loss of her cousin was tragic and senseless.

“When you loose someone because the Lord has called them home, it’s hard to take; but this is senseless and hurts so much more,” Bowman wrote in an email to 6 On Your Side.

Bowman said Nibbe, who went by Denise, was a loving, nurturing and very intelligent person.

She said that Nibbe excelled at any sport she played, especially volleyball and basketball.

Nibbe also enjoyed her job at Pilot and all of her co-workers, Bowman said. She said Nibbe had to work her way up to her position in the Pilot Company.

Bowman said Nibbe was very close with her family loved spending time with them, and she was very proud of all three of her children’s accomplishments.

Nibbe and her husband were about to spend their 30th wedding anniversary. They had planned to celebrate in Hawaii.

In unfortunately similar situations as Brown, Bowman said the COVID-19 pandemic makes the tragedy worse.

“How do you say goodbye or celebrate her life when we as a family and friends cannot comfort each other,” Bowman asked.

Nibbe leaves behind her husband, son, two daughters, and grandson. She has one sister, two brothers, her mom, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews.


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