Argument happened before father-daughter killing in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. – An alleged argument leads to the death of 17-year-old Prayer Nickelsen, fatally shot by her biological father in Joplin.

According to the Jasper County Coroner, the victim’s name is Prayer Nickelsen. But to friends and family, they knew her as Prayer Waddell. There have been a few Go Fund Me sites set up for funeral expenses.

Prayer was shot on January 9th and succumbed to her injuries on January 10th, 2022.


On January 10, the Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office filed first-degree murder and armed criminal action against Todd. J. Mayes. He’s the biological father of Prayer.

Fatal Shooting Incident

On January 9th, 2022 at 9:46 pm the Joplin Police Department Emergency Communications Center took a 911 call of a report of gunshots at 310 S. Connor Avenue.

During the call, the person told 911 personnel someone had been shot.

Joplin Police Officers responded to the scene and found a 17-year-old female suffering from a single gunshot wound. Officers and EMS personnel from METS Ambulance and the Joplin Fire Department began rendering aid. EMS then took her to Mercy Hospital in critical condition.

According to Court Documents

In court documents, Sergeant Luke Stahl states that Mayes and Prayer were in a verbal argument on the second floor of their home. Authorities say that’s when Prayer allegedly picked up a glass alcohol bottle and threw it at Mayes. He was allegedly walking downstairs while she stayed upstairs.

Investigators believe that’s when Mayes got his handgun from a desk drawer in his bedroom. He went back to the staircase. They met each other on the staircase and he allegedly shot her in the abdomen.

Authorities say Mayes did not try to render aid. They say he then put the gun back in the desk drawer.