GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Joshua Price loved his mother, his 7-year-old son and the mother of his child — who recorded him as he died from a lethal dose of heroin delivered by his best friend in a Cedar Springs home.
Price’s mother traveled from Virginia to a Kent County courtroom Thursday so she could make sure a judge and the people responsible for his death heard about her child.
“This is my son, Joshua David Price,” Karen Shuck said as she placed the urn containing her son’s ashes beside her during her victim impact statement.
Shuck had to make the decision to take her 34-year-old son off life support because he was brain dead.
On May 12, 2016, she heard from Kent County sheriff’s detectives that he had died of a heroin overdose delivered by his friend Jordan VandenBosch in the presence of his wife, 42-year-old Bonnie Lee Price.
“I am the only person in the entire history of the universe that feels the full effect of this loss, so I struggle for the words that can even come close to describe how Josh’s death has impacted me,” Shuck said.
The pair later confessed to providing the heroin and VandenBosch admitted to injecting the drug.
The mother said her son struggled with alcoholism, but was not a heroin user except for when he was influenced by his wife.
“Three weeks before he died, he shared with me his belief that he could just crawl into her world and experience heroin, he would be able to help her recover from her addiction,” Shuck said
She described his relationship with her 7-year-old grandson.
“Josh was a hands-on dad. They were tight, like bark on a tree, they were tight,” she said.
Price allegedly confessed to video-recording her husband as he went into respiratory distress after the injection. She said that when she realized he was overdosing, she made attempts to secure overdose reversal medication Narcan.
Police say Bonnie Price and VanderBosch destroyed evidence and tried to stage a crime scene that would hopefully exonerate them. Six hours passed before they called 911, claiming they had found him with a needle in his arm.
“Bonnie Price was not willing to make one phone call to save his life,” Shuck said.
If they had called 911 right away, the victim likely would have survived, police say.
“Bonnie wanted to teach him a lesson,” Shuck said.
Vanderbosch and Price were arrested in December after toxicology results were completed.
Shuck said she read a letter from her daughter-in-law and was brought to her knees by Bonnie Price’s claim that maybe the whole situation was God’s way of aiding her recovery.
“My son’s life mattered, it was a precious, valuable thing — it was not to be sacrificed just to teach Bonnie Price a lesson of recovery,” Shuck said.
Bonnie Price said nothing Thursday, but she was visibly shaken by what she heard. Her sentencing was delayed until next week as attorneys argue over guidelines.
“For the rest of your life, Bonnie, you will be known as a killer,” Shuck said.
Shuck believes Bonnie Price is the most responsible, but she also had words for Vandenbosch:
“You’re a cowardly perpetrator with a depraved indifference for human life,” she said.
VandenBosch apologized for his actions.
“I did not intend for this to happen. I feel terrible. Josh was a good friend of mine. I cared about him. I loved him,” VandenBosch said.
Shuck said she believed his words — to an extent.
“I felt compassion for him. It was an instant. He grabbed my heart for just an instant,” she said.
VandenBosch was sentenced Thursday to between seven and 21 years in prison.
While the process has been a nightmare, the mother says she is grateful for the detectives who at least gave her the chance to know what happened and to see some punishment meted out.
“So, I feel blessed, for lack of a better word, that my son received some kind of justice,” Shuck said.