East Ridge police identify victims in apparent murder-suicide

East Ridge police identify victims in apparent murder-suicide

January 31st, 2017 by Shelly Bradbury in Local Regional News

A medical examiner ruled two deaths at this home on Shelby Circle were the result of a murder-suicide. A mail carrier discovered a note in the home's mailbox informing them to call the police.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

This is a developing story and was updated Jan. 31 at 11:35 p.m.

3500 block Shelby Circle

34.999036, -85.263748
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East Ridge Police spent Tuesday morning investigating an apparent murder-suicide in a home on Shelby Circle after a mail carrier discovered a note in the home's mailbox informing them to call the police.

East Ridge Police spent Tuesday morning investigating an...

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

East Ridge police found two people dead inside a home on Tuesday after a mail carrier discovered a note in the home's mailbox warning of a murder-suicide, according to police.

A mail carrier discovered the note around 9:30 a.m. at a home on Shelby Circle, Assistant Chief Stan Allen said.

"The note basically said there was a murder-suicide at this address and to call East Ridge police," he said.

Officers arrived to find Joseph Charlie Yates and Ellen McKenzie dead inside, both with apparent gunshot wounds, Allen said.

Police declined to say which person appeared to be the shooter in the incident.

The victims were transported to the Hamilton County medical examiner's office, and investigators await a report on the causes of their deaths.

Property records show the home has been owned by the same couple since 1992. The modest house sits in a quiet residential neighborhood, where fenced-in yards surround most homes and cats lounge comfortably on stoops.

The apparent murder-suicide marks the first homicide of 2017 in East Ridge, Allen said. There have been two homicides in Chattanooga so far this year, records show.

The mail carrier did the right thing when she alerted authorities, said Susan Wright, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service. She declined to give any further details about the incident.

"At this point our concern is for our employee and offering her assistance if she requests it," Wright said.

She added that mail carriers face all sorts of situations while delivering on their routes.

"We're in the neighborhoods six and seven days a week," she said. "So we encounter things."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @ShellyBradbury.


Stay with the Times Free Press as more information becomes available.


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