Rush Branch couple die in murder-suicide as their son awaits burial
by Heather Tomlinson Commonwealth Journal
Two grieving parents were supposed to lay their son to rest Wednesday, just a few days after he was killed in a car accident in Lincoln County.
The couple — Billy Eugene Baugh, 54, and Shirley Baugh, 53, of 141 Edwards Road in Somerset — never made it to their son Clarence Baugh’s funeral.
Instead, they were found dead just before 1 p.m. Wednesday at their home, the result of an apparent murder-suicide.
“I never dreamed something like this would happen,” said a neighbor of the Baughs, who asked not to be identified. “I just talked to her (Shirley) on Sunday or Monday about what happened to Clarence.”
Pulaski County Sheriff Todd Wood said the couple died from gunshot wounds, and he said it appears Billy turned a handgun on Shirley first before killing himself.
They were pronounced dead on the scene by Pulaski County Coroner Chuck Godbey’s office.
“This is just an absolute tragedy,” said Wood, about the circumstances surrounding the deaths. “They were preparing to bury their son (Clarence).”
Godbey said the couple appeared to have died from gunshot wounds to the head. He said they were scheduled to undergo autopsies on Thursday to confirm a cause of death.
The neighbor said Billy and Shirley Baugh, who had lived at the home on Edwards Road for several decades, were distraught over Clarence’s death. The 27-year-old died just after midnight Sunday in Lincoln County after his car dropped off the road and overturned before going into a creek.
Clarence’s funeral had been scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday at Southern Oaks Funeral Home.
“She (Shirley) just said ... ‘I lost my baby,’” said the neighbor. “She said “nobody knows what it’s like to lose a child until they go through it.’
“It’s awful,” the neighbor added.
Det. Brett Whitaker, with the sheriff’s department, confirmed in a press release their investigation led them to family members who told detectives “Billy and Shirley were having trouble coping with their son’s death and that may have contributed to today’s (Wednesday’s) shooting incident.”
Wood said Billy and Shirley Baugh were found by their other son and Clarence’s brother and another person “who was to be in the funeral.”
“You see a lot of things in this profession, and this is one of the rare things you see,” Wood said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone dealing with this.
“They were already dealing with a lot going into today (Wednesday), and to have this added to it is just incredible,” Wood added. “Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with them.”
The Somerset-Pulaski County EMS and Kentucky State Police also responded to the shooting.
The incident remains under investigation by the sheriff department’s Criminal Investigation Division.