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Community reacts after father and daughter found dead in home

According to Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seal, Edward W. Atkins, 70, and Melissa J. Burgess-Smith, 43, were the victims of the fatal shooting.
WVLT News witnessed deputies stepping up patrols around a mobile home in the Strawberry Plains area Monday morning, where the two bodies were found.
Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 7:12 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2021 at 9:09 PM EST
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SEVIER CO., Tenn. (WVLT) -The deadly shooting of a father and daughter is sending Sevier Co. deputies along with the TBI on a hunt for answers. WVLT News witnessed deputies stepping up patrols around a mobile home in the Strawberry Plains area Monday morning, where the two bodies were found Christmas Eve.

According to Sevier Co. Sheriff Ron Seal, 70-year-old Edward W. Atkins, and 43-year-old Melissa J. Burgess-Smith, have been identified as the victims.

Several neighbors told WVLT News that they did not hear gunshots and question who made the 9-1-1 call to deputies.

“I’m very sorry for their immediate and extended family,” neighbor Sarah Hillard Cardwell said.

Around 10 p.m. neighbors walked down to the taped-off scene to inquire about the case. Deputies did not disclose what they suspect are the circumstance around the shooting or who pulled the trigger. However, neighbors said deputies gave them words of advice.

“They said be safe. Lock your doors and make sure everything is locked up there,” Cardwell said.

WVLT News noticed outside security cameras, from a home nearby, point toward the mobile home’s driveway. No word on whether the cameras were working at the time or if they’re helpful in the investigation.

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