Hermitage house fire claims 3 lives, including 9-year-old daughter

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – An investigation is underway after a woman who worked with Wilson County Schools was found dead during a fire at a home in Hermitage early Friday morning.

Metro police reported the fire, which broke out around 12:15 a.m. Friday on Leesa Ann Lane, is being investigated as a murder/suicide.

Suzanne Daugherty, 48, who worked at the employee daycare at West Elementary School, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, Gary Daugherty, died late Friday night, and their 9-year-old daughter died Saturday afternoon.

Suzanne Daugherty (Courtesy: The Daugherty family)

According to authorities, when firefighters arrived they found Gary Daugherty and the couple’s daughter unresponsive in a bedroom. Suzanne Daugherty was in another room with blunt force trauma to her head and a puncture wound to her back.

Gary Daugherty was taken to TriStar Summit Medical Center, where he died around 11 p.m.

Saturday afternoon, the nine-year-old daughter Crystal Daugherty died around 3:30 p.m. at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, according to Metro Nashville police.

Metro police said an accelerant was used throughout the home, plastic was placed over the windows, and the home’s smoke detectors were disabled.

Police also said handwritten contact information for extended family was found in a car parked outside.

Fire officials told News 2 the fire appears to have started in a living room downstairs. The majority of the damage to the home is due to smoke.

According to Wilson County Schools, Suzanne Daugherty had worked in the district since 2011. Her daughter is a fourth grade at W.A. Wright

Director of Schools, Dr. Donna Wright says, “It’s always a sad day when something happens to a member of our school family, and the circumstances surrounding this situation have made it even more difficult. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Suzanne’s extended family, as they process this horrible tragedy.”

(Photo: WKRN)

An investigation remains ongoing by the Nashville Fire Marshal’s office and the domestic violence division of Metro police, who said the couple had no previous domestic violence history with the department.

Late Friday afternoon, Metro police said their investigation revealed Daughterty met with an officer last Sunday at a friend’s residence after sugar was put inside her gas tank days earlier.

According to police, she told the officer she and her husband were going through a divorce and had an argument on June 12. She said the next morning, her car would not start and had it towed for repair. Daugherty reportedly went on to say sugar had been put in the gas tank.

A press release states Daugherty didn’t see anyone tamper with her car, nor did her husband threaten to, but she did believe he was responsible in order to keep her from visiting her lawyer.

Metro police noted that she was offered the services of a domestic counselor or help with an order of protection but she declined.