published Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Mother, daughter die in murder-suicide — and more Chattanooga region news

Mother, daughter die in murder-suicide

MOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn. — Officials say an East Tennessee mother has apparently killed her 6-year-old daughter and herself.

Johnson County Sheriff Michael Reese said the deaths occurred after officers were called to a residence late Saturday on a report of a shooting. Reece said officers initially found 50-year-old Mark Johnson with gunshot wounds. Police say his girlfriend, 31-year-old Heather Buchanan, fired at an officer from the porch of Johnson's home and the officer retreated until backup arrived.

When police entered the home, the found it empty. As they canvassed the area and talk to neighbors, they learned Buchanan wasn't alone.

"We didn't realize she had her daughter with her until we talked with the neighbor," Reece told the Johnson City Press. "That's when we called the helicopters in."

Officers searched until fog set in, grounding the helicopters. The bodies of the mother and daughter were found the next morning near Johnson's driveway. Reece said both had been shot in the head.

Reece said officers aren't sure what led to the initial shooting, but they intend to interview Johnson as soon as possible.

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


Volunteers sought for Public Lands Day

KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee Valley Authority is seeking volunteers to participate in National Public Lands Day on Saturday.

TVA is sponsoring volunteer activities around the Tennessee Valley, including a guided bird walk on the Muscle Shoals Reservation and clean-up and sign installation on Guntersville Reservoir, both in Alabama.

Tennessee-based activities include installation of two trailhead kiosks at the East Lakeshore trail on Tellico Reservoir, removal of invasive vegetation on Watts Bar Reservation, installation of bluebird boxes near Boone Reservoir, and debris removal around Fort Patrick Henry Reservoir.

National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest single-day volunteer event for public lands.

Interested volunteers should visit www.tva.com or contact the TVA Environmental Information Center at 800-882-5263.


Man charged with raping child

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — A Cleveland man has been arrested and charged with the rape of an 11-year-old child, a police affidavit says.

Steven "Joe" Burch, 52, admitted he had been drinking when he decided to make the child perform oral sex on him, according to Cleveland police.

He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 1. His bail has been set at $500,000.

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