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Family Entered Sheriff’s Office, Made Vague Phone Calls Leading Up To 'Heinous' Murder-Suicide
A passerby alerted authorities when noticing smoke coming from the Cooleemee, North Carolina home of Aschod Ewing-Meeks and Ashton Brown. Once the fire was extinguished, responders found them and their two children dead.
A family of four in North Carolina reportedly entered the sheriff’s office just hours before being found dead in what authorities say was a murder-suicide.
Aschod Ewing-Meeks, 26, entered the Davie County Sheriff’s Office with his girlfriend and two young children on April 18, according to Greensboro Fox affiliate WGHP. Meeks and his girlfriend, Ashton Brown, also 26, then made several calls to authorities over the next two hours until the family was found dead in their burning Junction Road home in Cooleemee.
Authorities say Meeks fatally shot Brown and their children before setting fire to the home and turning the gun on himself.
“It’s definitely been an impact on the community, on the neighborhood. It’s not an area where we have a lot of calls or issues,” Davie County Sheriff JD Hartman previously said. “The neighbors said they were good neighbors.”
Surveillance camera footage from earlier in the day shows the four of them entering the lobby of the sheriff’s office, according to WGHP. Brown can be seen holding the couple’s 8-month-old child, Brixtyn “Brixx” Ewing-Meeks, while 4-year-old Bella Ewing-Meeks stands nearby.
Brown stood back as Meeks approached a glass window.
“They spoke to our receptionist,” said Sheriff Hartman at a news conference. “They were very vague about what they wanted. They just wanted to talk to an officer.”
Meeks asked the receptionist, “You guys have people working here today?”
At 12:15 p.m., just four minutes after entering the sheriff’s office, they leave. A series of mysterious phone calls followed when Ashton Brown called authorities 20 minutes later, remaining vague about the reason for the call.
“Hi, um, how do you call to speak with a deputy or anything?” Brown asked, saying she wanted to address “a safety reason.”
Moments later, a deputy called Brown back, according to the outlet. Brown claimed she was calling on behalf of Meeks before turning the phone over to him. The call only lasted 30 seconds.
It wasn’t clear if the call was dropped or someone hung up, but the deputy called back. That call lasted 55 seconds.
Another call lasted two minutes. The deputy called back a third time at 12:54 p.m., a call that lasted for six minutes.
Two later calls – one at 1:06 p.m. and another at 1:07 p.m. – went straight to voicemail.
According to Sheriff Hartman, the deputy spoke only to Meeks after Brown initially contacted authorities.
“The rest of the calls were with Mr. Meeks talking,” said Sheriff Hartman. “He wouldn’t really advise what he wanted. He advised the officer that he thought somebody was following him, but he wasn’t in danger. They weren’t threatening him.”
Hartman said the conversations took place as Meeks was driving around, unwilling to return to the station or inform the deputy of their whereabouts.
Less than an hour later, witnesses saw Brown and Meeks arguing on their front lawn before going inside the house, according to WGHP. Within moments, a passerby noticed smoke coming from the home and alerted authorities at around 2:17 p.m. Members of the Cooleemee Fire Department arrived on the scene just three minutes later.
Soon, responders found the bodies of Brown and Brixx in the kitchen and Bella in the doorway of a bedroom. Meeks was found dead on the scene with a gun still in his hand.
Although authorities didn’t release how the fire started, they said it was an act of arson.
“I’ve seen a lot in 30 years, but children - and especially children that are killed by gunshots and burned - it’s pretty heinous,” said Sheriff Hartman, according to People. “So it’s pretty close to the worst, if not the worst.”