Friends and family grieve young couple slain at Gray home

Becky Campbell • Updated Dec 8, 2017 at 12:33 AM

Family and friends of a young couple and their unborn child killed in their home earlier this week are trying to understand the senselessness of the shootings.

The outpouring of grief, love and questions from those who loved Robert Aaron ‘Rac” Vaughn, 25 and his wife, Kyanna Howes Vaughn, 24, continued Thursday and kept growing. The couple had married in July and were expecting their first child together. But those three lives were cut short sometime before Tuesday evening.

That’s when a friend of the couple’s went to check on them after being unable to reach them for two days. He found the two shot to death in a bedroom. Kyanna Vaughn was six to seven months pregnant, according to Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal.

Two children, ages 6 and 3, were left at the residence unharmed, authorities said.

According to the Bangor Daily News in Bangor, Maine, Kyanna Vaughn was born in Ashland, Maine.

She moved to Tennessee as a child with her mother and three siblings, according to cousin Andrea Walsh of Swanville.

Walsh said said some of Howes Vaughn’s family still live in the Ashland area, including her father and grandmother, while other family reside in southern Maine.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Walsh said. “This is a young couple, they had two kids already. They just got married a few months ago.”

Robert Labbe, Howes Vaughn’s stepfather, said that he and his wife Michelle, who live in Gorham, were working to gain custody of their daughter’s two children in Tennessee and were preparing for a funeral and burial in Maine. There will also be a memorial service in Tennessee, the family said.

Some of Kyanna Vaughn’s local relatives appear to live in Kingsport, based on social media postings about the shooting. Her husband also had family in Kingsport, including his mother. The couple’s unborn child was a girl whose name was Nyla Hope Vaughn.

Robert Vaughn’s family will receive friends Saturday at Carter-Trent Funeral Home in Kingsport, and a celebration of life service will follow.

Washington County investigators have not released any more details than Graybeal gave in a press conference on Wednesday.

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.

“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.”

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called in to help the sheriff’s office 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.

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