A Middle Tennessee community is trying to come to terms with the sudden death of a school principal, and what is even more difficult is that officials believe she was the victim of a crime.
The medical examiner confirms Elaine Hewitt and her husband, Carl were shot before a fire at their house Jan. 16 in Humphreys County.
Police found three bodies in the home, and they are still waiting to confirm if the couple's son was among the dead.
Investigators also found a gun in the debris and believe it was the murder weapon. They said they are not looking for any suspects.
Sheriff Chris Davis said first responders received a call at about 5:30 a.m. regarding a fire at the intersection of White Oak Creek and Steed roads.
Minutes later, they got a call about another fire at a smaller home about a half mile away.
Both properties were owned by the Hewitts, and investigators believe the fires were started on purpose.
Investigators returned to the scene the next day, sifting through the remains of the fire where the three bodies were found inside.
"At this time, I do not believe we're looking for another party. We have other information we're tracking down. We're treating this with an open mind until we can draw our final conclusion," Davis said.
Elaine Hewitt was a principal at Erin Elementary School in Houston County. Flags at the school were lowered to half-staff in her memory.
Parent Mandy Harrison said her two children were heartbroken their principal hasn't returned, and she said it was difficult telling the children about the tragedy.
"It's just hard. I told them things happen we have no control over, and she's in a better place now. That's all you can really tell them," Harrison said.
Cathy Harvey, director of Houston County Schools, released a statement, saying:
"Our thoughts are with the families and the community that has been affected. We are in touch with local law enforcement and will continue to ensure the safety of our students."
Across from the school at Papa's Old Fashioned BBQ, "Miss Elaine" - as she was called - was known was a regular and an awfully kind person.
"It was very convenient. She'd stop here at night before going home and get their supper," said Manager Darlene Rose.
There were only a few people in the restaurant Thursday afternoon as Rose cleaned tables. A favorite customer won't be returning as a community mourns a terrible loss.
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