Monday night’s episode of People Magazine Investigates explores the shocking slayings of Martha McKay and her mother, Sally Snowden McKay, at their lavish property on Horseshoe Lake, Ark.

By KC Baker
May 14, 2021 02:13 PM
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martha mckay
Martha McKay
| Credit: Jack Kenner

The close-knit community of Horseshoe Lake, Ark., was stunned in 1996 when two members of the prominent Snowden family were slain on a stretch of property that had been in the family for generations.

But nearly 24 years after the slayings of Sally Snowden McKay, and her cousin, Joseph "Lee" Baker, the family endured another shocking tragedy. That's when Snowden McKay's daughter, Martha McKay, was herself murdered in the family's ornate antebellum-style mansion — by the same man.

We were "all just in disbelief," Katie Hutton — the daughter of Snowden McKay and the sister of Martha McKay — told PEOPLE.

After the shocking 1996 double murders of Snowden McKay, 75, the matriarch of the family, and Baker, 52, a prominent Memphis-based blues guitarist, police began looking at locals with criminal records who fit the suspect's profile.

Among those questioned was Edrick Smith, then 20, who police knew had a checkered past.

"I'm there at the house and I'm with my daughter and I see four or five cars pull up on the side," Smith recalls on Monday night's episode of People Magazine Investigates: A Crimson End, airing at 10 ET/9 CT on Investigation Discovery and streaming on discovery+. (An exclusive clip is shown below.) 

"They got my thumbprint, they got my palm print, then they took a piece of hair," he says. "They gave me a polygraph test.

He adds: "They were aggressive. They said, 'We think it's you. We think it's you.'"

Investigators were searching for whoever "killed the lady," Smith remembered, with police saying, "Somebody going to go down for this."

That somebody turned out to be his brother, Travis Lewis, who went to prison as a teenager after pleading guilty to murder in the deaths of Snowden McKay and Baker.

travis lewis mugshot
Travis Lewis
| Credit: Crittenden County Sheriffs Department

Lewis pleaded guilty to the murders but never confessed, maintaining that another man killed the two, say police.

Feeling sorry for Lewis because he was so young when he went to prison and unsure whether he was actually the killer, Martha McKay befriended him, helping him to eventually get out of prison.

This proved to be a fatal decision.

On the morning of March 25, 2020, years after the family thought they'd left the trauma behind them, Martha McKay's bloodied body was found wrapped in blankets at the top of the stairs.

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She'd been stabbed and bludgeoned by an intruder who jumped out of the second story window to escape the police.

"Martha didn't deserve to be killed," said Hutton. "She didn't deserve anything that happened to her."

People Magazine Investigates: A Crimson End, airs Monday at 10 ET/9 CT on Investigation Discovery and streams on discovery+.