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Crime

Texas Father Kills 8-Year-Old Daughter and Wife in Murder-Suicide

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Jefferson and Penny Stovall
Source: Jefferson Stovall/Facebook

A Texas father killed his wife and daughter before turning the gun on himself, PEOPLE confirms.

Jefferson Stovall, 46, was found dead Thursday in his Corsicana home near the bodies of his wife, Penny Stovall, 43, and 8-year-old daughter, MaKenzie, according to a Navarro County Sheriff’s news release.

Deputies checked on the family after receiving a call from worried family members, who said they hadn’t been able to reach the couple in 24 hours.

A .44 magnum rifle was found at the scene, according to the news release. Deputies gave no information on a possible motive.

Sheriff Elmer Tanner tells PEOPLE it was “blatantly obvious” that Jefferson was responsible for the killings, but he wouldn’t elaborate on why investigators believe this.

Tanner says police had never received reports of criminal incidents or family violence from the Stovall house.

He says there was “a presence of alcohol at the scene,” but says investigators are not sure if that was a contributing factor.

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“Any time you’re dealing with the needless loss of life, especially a child of 8 years of age, [an] innocent 8-year-old, it’s a traumatic experience for the community,” Tanner says. “But it’s also [important] that we keep our officers in your thoughts and prayers, because it’s troubling for the officers to investigate such a scene.”

MaKenzie Stovall
Source: Penny Chapman Stovall/Facebook

Tanner says he hopes the investigation will help “make sense of this senseless crime.”

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MaKenzie was in the second grade at Mildred Elementary School, the school announced on Thursday in statement on Facebook.

“As a family we are devastated to learn about the reported loss of a second grader from Mildred Elementary. We extend our heart felt sympathy to the family,” the statement read. “Additional counselors and support will be available to meet the needs of our students and staff tomorrow. Please keep the student’s family as well as our Mildred ISD family in your thoughts and prayers. Be blessed.”