CRITTENDEN COUNTY, Ark. — Crittenden County officials are investigating a bizarre murder case where the suspect is the same man accused of murdering the victim's mother more than 20 years ago.
Crittenden County Sheriff Mike Allen said deputies found the back door open after being called to the Snowden House in Horseshoe Lake on Wednesday.
A man identified as 39-year-old Travis Lewis was upstairs and jumped from the window when deputies made a sweep of the home.
Lewis tried to get away in a vehicle on the property but jumped into the lake after the vehicle became stuck. Authorities said Lewis never surfaced, and his body was recovered later that day.
The homeowner Martha McKay was found dead inside Snowden House. The cause of death will be determined by the state medical examiner, Allen said.
According to authorities, Lewis spent 23 years behind bars for killing McKay's mother Sally and and her brother Lee Baker back in 1996, when Lewis was 16 years old. He was paroled in 2018.
"It's kind of like a bad dream or deja vu, like really, back to this again," said Joe Baker, Lee Baker's son and Martha McKay's cousin. "For me, it speaks to some of the issues with the parole system in Arkansas."
Detectives are now working to figure out why Lewis killed McKay and if anything was taken from the home. The two knew each other because, despite his conviction, McKay at one point still wanted to help Lewis.
"I think that she really felt in her heart he deserved to be rehabilitated, which I think really speaks to her character after such a tragic event happened to such a close family member," Joe Baker said.
The family is now hoping for answers in this new investigation.
"I'm just beyond sad that it turned out this way for her," Joe Baker said.
Investigators said up until a month ago, Lewis did work at McKay's home but was recently banned from the property.
Lewis and McKay's bodies will be sent to the medical examiner's office to find out how they died.