The Wilson County School system family is deeply shocked at the news their employee Suzanne Daugherty and her daughter are victims of a reported domestic related murder-suicide in Hermitage predawn Friday. Her husband is the suspect and died later.
"It's always a sad day when something happens to a member of our school family, and the circumstances surrounding this situation have made it even more difficult," said Wilson County Schools Director Dr. Donna Wright prior to the news Suzanne's daughter had subsequently died. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Suzanne's extended family, as they process this horrible tragedy."
West Elementary School Learning Center worker Suzanne Daugherty, 48, was pronounced dead at the scene of a residence at 4924 Leesa Ann Lane in Hermitage where the Nashville Fire Department responded around 12:13 a.m. Friday after a neighbor reported the home was on fire.
According to investigators with Metro Nashville Police, Suzanne was found in one room deceased and had suffered from obvious trauma unrelated to the fire. Her suspect husband Gary Daugherty, 55 and their daughter Crystal Daugherty, 9, were found together unresponsive in a bedroom with what investigators said were "severe fire-related injuries." According to authorities, Suzanne had blunt force trauma to her head and a puncture wound to her back.
According to a release, the investigation showed an accelerant was used throughout the home and plastic was taped over the windows and the home's smoke detectors were disabled. Metro police said contact information for extended family was found in a vehicle parked near the house.
Metro police reported Gary Daugherty died late Friday night at Tri-Star Summit Medical Center and Crystal Daugherty died Saturday afternoon at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital late afternoon.
Crystal Daugherty was a fourth grader at W.A. Wright Elementary School in the Wilson County School System and Suzanne worked as a teacher for The Teacher Learning Center at West Elementary during the school year and this summer she had been working with children in the system's Kid's Club. She worked for Wilson County Schools since 2011.
Metro Nashville Police's investigation was assisted by the department's Domestic Violence Division and the Nashville Fire Marshal's Office.
Reported 'going through a divorce'
According to a Metro Police release, Suzanne "told the officer she and her husband were going through a divorce and had a verbal argument Monday, June 12."
As the investigation unfolded, according to the release, while the MNPD's Domestic Violence Division had no prior contact with Suzanne and Garr Daugherty, "Suzanne met with a Hermitage Precinct officer the prior Sunday at a friend's residence "...concerning sugar being placed in her gas tank several days earlier." It's reported she told police her car would not start and it had to be towed for repair and she was told sugar had been put in the gas tank."
According the release Suzanne said she did not see anyone tamper with her car, nor did her husband threaten to do anything to it. The release said Suzanne did believe he was responsible to "prevent her from visiting her lawyer." The release said Suzanne was offered services of a domestic counselor, and assistance with an order of protection, and shelter, but she declined.
According to Wilson County Schools spokesperson Jennifer Johnson, counselors are available for students and staff who knew Suzanne because "they are distraught over this news."
On Monday, Johnson said the staff at W.A. Wright planned to meet yesterday (Tuesday) to "talk about what they want to do for the funeral.
Funeral arrangements were not finalized by press time.