Navarro County murder-suicide leaves community, law enforcement in shock

Posted at 8:47 PM, Feb 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-11 11:00:48-05

The Navarro County Sheriff's Office is working to determine the motive of a murder-suicide near Corsicana that stunned the community and its law enforcement.

Deputies found three bodies in a home on Southeast County Road 1090 after receiving a call around 2:30 p.m. Thursday from a relative who said she hadn't heard from the family in about a day.

Sheriff Elmer Tanner said Jefferson Stovall, 46, shot and killed his wife, Penny, 43, and their daughter, McKenzie, 8, before pointing the gun at himself and pulling the trigger. Detectives found a .44 Magnum rifle near their bodies, according to a press release.

"It's very uncommon to go to a scene like this where you find the entire family deceased. There's no explanation. There's nothing we can say for the family," Sheriff Tanner said.

Initially, the sheriff said deputies thought it was a medical call when they looked through one of the home's windows and saw a body on the floor. But when they made entry, that's when he said they realized it was a crime scene.

The horrific crime has left the entire community in shock and disbelief.

"Any time something like that happens, if affects much of our community. We're a pretty small community, about 25,000 people. Everybody's very close," Corsicana resident Lori Haynie said. "It's very gut-wrenching. I didn't know the people. It's a child. An eight-year-old child. And her life has been ended."

Sheriff Tanner said the crime scene also affected members of the sheriff's office.

"Sometimes our guys have a really tough job. When you a see a scene like this, this is something the officers are unable to forget. It's not the first time we've seen this, but we don't ever desire to see any act of violence like this, especially involving children," he said.

Although forgetting may be difficult, community members said preventing something like this from happening again could be as simple as asking for help or knowing when help is needed.

"It just affects everybody, even if you didn't know the people. If you need help, reach out for help. Don't do something that is going to affect other people," Haynie said.

Mildred Elementary School, where eight-year-old McKenzie went to school, had additional counselors on hand Friday for students and staff who needed them. The school's principal told News Channel 25 there were plans for some kind of memorial for McKenzie, but those plans aren't set just yet.

The case is still under investigation.

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