Johnson County woman, daughter dead in apparent murder-suicide

Tony Casey • Sep 23, 2013 at 9:32 PM

A Johnson County woman and her 6-year-old daughter are dead in what authorities believe to be a murder-suicide.

Johnson County Sheriff Michael Reece said the murder-suicide was the result after a shootout took place in Johnson County on Saturday night.

He said an officer arrived at 1235 McEwen Ranch Road at just after 10 on Saturday night with emergency medical services in response to a shooting.

Reece said his officer found Mark Johnson, 50, at his neighbor’s house, shot in the hand and stomach before he approached Johnson’s residence. The officer then saw a woman on the porch, who was later identified as Johnson’s 31-year-old girlfriend, Heather Buchanan.

Buchanan fired at the officer twice, causing him to take cover until more officers arrived, allowing Buchanan to re-enter the house, Reece said.

Upon entering the house, officers learned the woman had escaped into the woods behind the house. After speaking with neighbors at around 2 a.m., officers learned the woman had her 6-year-old daughter, Alexis Buchanan, with her.

“We didn’t realize she had her daughter with her until we talked with the neighbor,” Reece said. “That’s when we called the helicopters in.”

He said officers and a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter looked for the woman and her daughter for the next two hours, until just before 5 a.m., before fog made the search unsafe for the helicopter crew.

Reece said the sheriff’s department received a call at around 9 on Sunday morning that said the bodies of two females, Buchanan and her daughter, were found dead in a driveway near the residence.

Both Buchanan and her daughter had been shot in the head in what Reece said he believed to be a murder-suicide.

Reece said they don’t yet have an idea what instigated the initial shooting, but will interview Johnson as soon as he’s able to be interviewed. Johnson is being treated at the Johnson City Medical Center.

“He’s the only one who can tell us what happened,” Reece said. “And we’ll talk to him when he’s stable.”

Keep checking JohnsonCityPress.com and tomorrow's print edition for more information on this story from Elizabethton Bureau Chief John Thompson

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