A pregnant mother originally from Ashland was shot to death with her husband at their home in Tennessee, according to Tennessee police and relatives in Maine.
A friend found the bodies of Kyanna Howes Vaughn, 23, and Robert Vaughn, 25, bloodied from gunshot wounds in the bedroom of their mobile home in Johnson City, Tennessee, on Dec. 6, the Johnson City Press reported.
Citing the Washington County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office, the newspaper reported that a friend who had been trying to contact the Vaughns by phone over the previous two days went to check on them Monday. The friend found the couple dead and the couple’s two children, ages 3 and 6, still in the home unharmed.
The Washington County (Tennessee) Sheriff’s Office, which could not be reached for comment Wednesday, is investigating the killing as a triple homicide, according to the Johnson City Press.
“We are clearly dealing with a triple homicide due to the baby,” the sheriff told the newspaper at a press conference Tuesday. “This was someone who knew the family, we’re pretty sure, and we’re confident it was not a domestic between these two.”
Kyanna Howes Vaughn was born in Ashland and moved to Tennessee as a child with her mother and three siblings, according to cousin Andrea Walsh of Swanville.
Walsh said said some of Howes Vaughn’s family still live in the Ashland area, including her father and grandmother, while other family reside in southern Maine.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Walsh said. “This is a young couple, they had two kids already. They just got married a few months ago.”
Robert Labbe, Howes Vaughn’s step-father, said that he and his wife Michelle, who live in Gorham, are working to gain custody of Howes Vaughn’s two children in Tennessee and are preparing for a funeral and burial in Maine.
Police did not reveal how many times or where the bodies were shot. Sheriff Ed Graybeal told the Johnson City Press that such details would come out in the autopsy report.
Graybeal told the newspaper that while the children were safe, they were aware their parents were dead.
“They’re fine, they were not hurt at all. They were just great kids, just like all 6-year-olds and 3-year-olds. It’s a sad fact that Momma and Daddy are both gone,” he said.
“The 6-year-old, for sure,” realized that his parents were dead, the sheriff told the paper. The children are now in state custody in Tennessee.
Graybeal indicated that investigators were following up on leads and that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was assisting with the investigation.
Back in Maine, Labbe said, “Kyanna was a sweetheart. Everybody loved her. She was a generally all-around good kid. She was due in March.”
In reference to seeking custody of the children, he added, “We want to make sure our grandson and granddaughter are safe.”
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