VAN ZANDT COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office received a welfare concern call on Sept. 5 at a residence in the Whitton community. A couple was found dead at the scene.

According to a press release, a man at the residence sent a text message to a friend that appeared concerning, prompting the friend to contact the sheriff’s office.

Constable Precinct 2, Heath Burton, was the first officer to arrive at the location. According to Burton, he located a dead male and female on the back porch of the residence. Burton reported the female suffered gunshot wounds and the male suffered a single gunshot wound.

Officials have identified the male subject as 72-year-old Paul Howard Smith and his wife, 66-year-old Sally Nan Smith of Canton. Initial evidence indicated that Paul shot and killed his wife Sally before he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to investigators.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Sandra Plaster, conducted an inquest into the deaths. Both of the deceased were sent to the Southwest Institute of forensic Science in Dallas for autopsy.


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