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Man Kills Daughter Of Woman He Murdered 24 Years Ago, Then Jumps In Lake While Fleeing And Apparently Drowns, Authorities Say
Travis Lewis killed Martha McMay's mother Sally Snowden McKay in 1996 when he was just 16 years old, authorities said. Despite that, Martha befriended him while he was in prison, though their relationship took another deadly turn.
An Arkansas woman, who lived at a historic house that once appeared in the 1994 film “The Client,” was killed Wednesday —allegedly by the same man who had killed her mother and cousin 24 years earlier.
Travis Lewis, 39, was found at the home of Martha McKay after an alarm alerted Crittenden County Sheriff’s deputies to a break-in at the historic Snowden House in Horseshoe Lake, authorities said.
“Two deputies that arrived found an open back door and upon clearing the house located a possible suspect who jumped from an upstairs window and ran to a vehicle that he drove across the yard and got stuck in the yard at the Snowden house,” Sheriff Mike Allen wrote in a post on Facebook.
After getting stuck, the suspect — later identified by authorities as Lewis — jumped from the car and dove into a nearby lake.
“He was observed going under the water and never came back up,” Allen said.
His body was later recovered in the water by the Arkansas Game and Fish and Crittenden County Search and Rescue.
Investigators also discovered the body of Martha McKay inside the house.
The cause of death for both Martha McKay and Lewis is being determined by the state medical examiner’s office.
Almost 24 years before McKay was killed, on Sept. 10, 1996,, a then-16-year-old Lewis killed McKay’s mother, Sally Snowden McKay and her cousin, Lee Baker, a popular Memphis blues/rock guitarist, at another nearby property owned by the Snowden family, according to The Commercial Appeal.
Lewis later pleaded guilty to the murders and served 23 years behind bars before he was paroled in 2018, Allen said.
Dottie Jones, the cousin of Martha McKay, told The Memphis Flyer that Lewis had killed Sally Snowden McKay and Lee Baker in 1996 after the pair surprised him while he was committing a burglary.
At the time of the dual murders, Lewis had been living at Horseshoe Lake with his parents at a Snowden-owned property.
Martha McKay had opposed a capital sentence for Lewis at the time of his sentencing and had befriended him while he was in prison, Jones said.
It’s not clear what the motive was in Wednesday’s attack.
Investigators with the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office had not responded to Oxygen.com’s request for additional details about the case.
The Snowden House, where Martha McKay died, is a historic three-story, 6,000-square-foot mansion that is advertised as “Memphis’ Premiere Wedding Venue,” according to its website. It's located right on the Arkansas-Tennessee state line.
Martha McKay had been operating a bed-and-breakfast from the historic lakeside home, which once served as a location in the 1994 movie “The Client.”
Neighbors in the area said they were unnerved by the shocking incident Wednesday.
“We locked our doors and remained inside and prayed for the best,” one neighbor told local station WHBQ-TV. "We were able to look out the window and see them patrolling the waters.”