Outside the couple’s home, located at 616 Friendship Court, Gray, was evidence children lived there, including a Tonka-type dump truck, a child’s Little Tykes Cozy Coupe and a wheelbarrow. On the porch rail were a few containers of automobile fluids — brake fluid, oil, fix-a-flat — a can of bug spray and a leftover Halloween pumpkin.
Those children, a 3-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy, were taken into state custody Monday night after their parents were found in a bedroom shot to death.
Washington County sheriff’s deputies and EMS were called to the scene after a friend of Robert Vaughn’s went there to check on his friends, Sheriff Ed Graybeal said. The friend hadn’t been able to reach the Vaughns by phone for two days. When he got to the residence, the door was locked, but the couple’s 6-year-old unlatched the deadbolt to let him inside.
The friend found the Vaughns in a bedroom, bloodied and dead.
Graybeal said Kyanna Vaughn was six to seven months pregnant.
“We are clearly dealing with a triple homicide due to the baby,” the sheriff said 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.”
Investigators discovered the oven was on inside the house, but Graybeal indicated the couple might have been getting ready to cook when they were killed.
The bodies were taken to the regional forensics center in Johnson City for autopsies. Graybeal would not comment on where the two were shot or how many times, but said those answers would be revealed in the autopsy reports.
Graybeal said 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 said.
Investigators had leads they were following up on and had several people to interview.
“We are receiving a lot of calls this morning. We’re following up on all those leads. Like always, we’re asking anybody that has information to give us a call,” Graybeal said. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called in to assist WCSO with the investigation.
Anyone with information about the killings can contact the sheriff’s office at 423-788-1414 or contact the local 911 center.