Local News

Custody Battle Ends in Double Murder-Suicide

Posted March 12, 2007 3:35 p.m. EDT
Updated March 13, 2007 8:42 a.m. EDT

— A father and two children were found dead Monday afternoon at a Johnston County home in what authorities are calling a double murder and suicide.

Authorities said Steven Henry, 35, from Garner, shot his 6-year-old daughter, Ashley, and 4-year-old son, Gregory, before turning a gun on himself.

The slayings occurred outside the home of Dawn Henry -- Steven Henry's estranged wife and the children's mother -- on Vinson Road between Clayton and Wilson's Mills, authorities said.

The couple was engaged in a bitter custody battle, authorities said, and Dawn Henry contacted the Johnston County Sheriff's Office Monday morning after seeing her estranged husband's car in her driveway as she was returning home.

When deputies arrived at the house to see what Steven Henry wanted, they found all three bodies inside the car, authorities said.

Authorities spent Monday afternoon collecting evidence from the scene, and Dawn Henry was taken to the Johnston County Sheriff's Office late Monday afternoon to speak with investigators.

Dawn, Ashley and Gregory Henry had been living the house for about six months, and neighbors said Monday they were stunned by the slayings.

"It just disrupts the whole flow of life," neighbor John Benson said. "It's unbelievable. It's just unbelievable."

Authorities said Dawn Henry is an employee of the Johnston County School System. It is unknown what job, if any, Steven Henry held before his death.

According to Steven Henry's neighbors in Garner, he was rarely seen outside his home and didn't interact with anyone in the neighborhood.