Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Macon County, NC: Macon couple discovered deceased in home

A Macon County couple was discovered dead by their family when they returned home last Thursday evening in a case that investigators are referring to as an alleged murder-suicide.

Emergency 911 dispatch received an emergency phone call last Thursday evening, Feb. 2, from the address of 909 Little Hogback Mountain Lane. The caller stated that he had discovered his in-laws, Kenneth and Fran Simmons, along with the family dog, dead in their home from apparent gunshot wounds. The caller believed his mother-in-law had shot Mr. Kenneth Williams and the dog, and later killed herself.

On Monday, Feb 6, Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland confirmed that the Sheriff’s Office investigation into an apparent murder/suicide which occurred at the listed residence is still ongoing. The incident still appears to be a murder/suicide, according to Sheriff Holland.

Investigators arrived at the scene after receiving an emergency phone call from Keith Harper, who told the 911 dispatcher that he and his wife had just arrived home from work and found the residence unusually quiet and discovered his deceased in-laws after searching the home, according to the CAD Incident Detail report released following the incident.

Harper called 911 at 6:07 p.m. to report the discovery. Harper told the dispatcher that it appeared that his mother-in-law, Francis Harriet Simmons, age 71, had killed his father-in-law, Kenneth Simmons, age 71. The family dog was also killed by gunshot wounds and was found dead in its cage. Harper told the dispatcher that he felt something was wrong when he got home and the dog was not barking. He stated the dog usually barks like crazy when someone arrives at the residence.

A bullet and a five-page note were left in the home, according to the 911 dispatch report and Sheriff Holland. The dispatcher told Harper and his wife not to touch anything, and to stay outside of the house until law enforcement officials arrived at the scene.

An autopsy on the two victims was conducted on Friday, Feb. 3. The home was secured by the Sheriff’s Office and items of evidence were seized from the residence during and after the autopsy. The autopsy report indicates that Mrs. Simmons shot her husband multiple times and then shot the dog, before turning the gun on herself. According to Holland, the family gave him permission to release information regarding the shootings, which report that Mr. Kenneth Simmons was terminally ill and was receiving hospice care.

The preliminary results of Mr. Simmons’ autopsy report indicates that his cause of death was from multiple gunshot wounds. Mrs. Simmons’ autopsy report indicated that she died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Mrs. Simmons’s autopsy revealed a single gunshot wound. Investigators believe she shot her husband and the family dog, before killing herself. Investigators also believe the five-page note left at the scene was written by Mrs. Simmons. The note was an apology to their family, according to Sheriff Holland.

No criminal charges are expected to be filed and the investigation will remain ongoing pending the final autopsy report, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office.

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