Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Buchanan County, VA: Double murder-suicide in Buchanan County

By George Jackson Michael Owens

Three people are dead in what Buchanan County Sheriff Ray Foster called a double-murder and suicide.

It happened around 11 a.m. Saturday, at the home of Alvin Sheppard, 1038 Pond View Drive (in the Page area of Buchanan County).

Dispatch received a call from Sheppard at 11:02 a.m.

He told deputies he had shot John Mays, 29, and Sandra Keene, 53, to death, Foster said.

"He wanted us to come and get the bodies," Foster said.

Investigators found Mays and Keene in the driveway, and found eight casings from a 9-millimeter handgun around their car.

"One of them was shot multiple times," Foster said. He declined to detail their injuries.

Foster said investigators found Sheppard in the yard outside his home, dead from a single gunshot wound to the head.

"He took his own life," Foster said.

Investigators said the shooting followed a custody dispute.

"[Mays and Keene] had come to pick up [Sheppard's] grandchild, and [Sheppard] didn't want them to go," Foster said.

Sheppard's daughter and John Mays have a 14-month old child, Foster said. Sheppard was the child's grandfather. Sandra Keene was Mays' mother, and the child's grandmother. Both families had been in and out of court, Foster said.

"The grandparents, Sheppard [and his wife], had done most of the raising," Foster said. "It had been at his residence."

Foster said Saturday was his first trip to 1038 Pond View Drive. He said Sheppard has no criminal record, and no history of mental illness. Sheppard was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Foster said.

The child will remain in the custody of Sheppard's daughter, he said.

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