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A North Carolina family visited their local sheriff’s office hours before the father fatally shot his girlfriend and two children, later setting their home on fire and killing himself in an apparent murder-suicide.
Investigators believe Aschod Ewing-Meeks, 26, killed his family last week in what Davie County Sheriff JD Hartman referred to as ‘one of the worst, if not the worst’ case he had ever witnessed.
He allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend, Ashton Brown, 26, and their two children Bella, 4, and Brixtyn, 8 months, and set their Davie County home on fire before shooting himself.
About two hours before the tragedy Ewing-Meeks, Brown and the kids were captured on surveillance video speaking with a receptionist at the Davie County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials told WGHP the family was vague about what they wanted but had requested to speak with a deputy. The family made several attempts to speak with authorities before their deaths.
Aschod Ewing-Meeks (right), his girlfriend Ashton Brown (left) and their daughters, Bella (center) and Brixtyn (in Brown’s arms) visited the Davie County Sheriff’s Office two hours before Ewing-Meek allegedly killed the family and himself in an apparent murder-suicide
Investigators believe Aschod Ewing-Meeks, 26, shot his girlfriend and kids and set fire to their family home before turning the gun on himself. He is pictured with his daughter, 4-year-old Bella in a photo shared on social media on March 5
The family walked into the sheriff’s office around 12:10 p.m. on April 18, seeking to speak with a deputy.
The receptionist asked for the family’s information and then gave them a phone number of someone to contact within the department. They reportedly left the premises around 12:15 p.m.
‘There was nothing out of the ordinary. They really wouldn’t interact with the receptionist or tell her what they wanted,’ Hartman said of the visit during a press conference Wednesday, People Magazine reported.
Brown called 911 at 12:35 p.m., again asking to speak with a deputy. She said the family had safety concerns but reportedly did not specify what their concerns were.
Eleven minutes later a deputy returned Brown’s call. The mother-of-two answered the phone and told officials she had been calling on behalf of Ewing-Meeks.
She passed the phone to Ewing-Meeks, but the call ended after 30 seconds. It is unclear if signal was dropped or if someone hung up.
The family walked into the sheriff’s office around 12.10pm on April 18, seeking to speak with a deputy. The receptionist asked for the family’s information and then gave them a phone number of someone to contact within the department. They left the premises around 12.15pm
Bella is seen looking at the receptionist as her parents face the door to leave
After they left the law enforcement agency, Ashton Brown (pictured with her daughters in October 2021) called 911 asking to speak with a deputy. She said the family had safety concerns but reportedly did not specify what their concerns were
Authorities called the family back multiple times and had several short conversations over the span of about 30 minutes.
During the longest call, which lasted about six minutes, Ewing-Meeks explained he believed the family was being followed, adding that they were driving around the community.
He refused to give the deputy his specific location or return to the sheriff’s office to meet the officers.
‘He advised with the officer that he thought that someone was following him, but he wasn’t in danger, they weren’t threatening him,’ said Hartman. ‘The officer attempted to get them to come back to the sheriff’s office. They were driving around; they wouldn’t tell the officer where they were.’
After the call, the deputy made two more attempts to reach Ewing-Meeks, shortly after 1 p.m., but the phone went to voicemail. Officials were ultimately unable to reach the family.
The family and the deputy the had several short phone calls over the course of 30 minutes. Ewing-Meeks told police he was fearful they were being followed. Around 1pm the family became unreachable. Their home is pictured above shortly after the tragedy
Ewing-Meeks and Brown were last seen around 2 p.m. arguing in the front yard of their home, witnesses told police. A few minutes later smoke was seen coming out of the house. Firefighters responded to the property 15 minutes later and discovered the victims’ bodies as they worked the fire
Authorities found the bodies of the two children in the kitchen. Bella is pictured holding Brixtyn in a photo her mother shared to Facebook last September
Ewing-Meeks and Brown were last seen around 2 p.m. arguing in the front yard of their home, witnesses told police.
Moments later smoke was seen coming out of the house.
A community member, who happened to be driving past the burning home, drove to the local fire station to report the incident.
Firefighters responded to the property by 2:15 p.m. and discovered the victims’ bodies as they worked the fire.
The two children were found in the kitchen and Brown in the doorway of a bedroom. Police say Ewing-Meeks was found at the end of a hallway, near the kitchen, holding the gun.
Preliminary on-scene investigation revealed the fire had been intentionally set, however authorities have not stated how or where it originated.
‘All four victims are deceased from gunshot wounds,’ Hartman told reporters. ‘The fire was intentionally set. Mr. Meeks was deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and we found the gun that matches all of this actually still in Mr. Meeks’ hand.’
Police say Brown (left) was found in the kitchen and Ewing-Meeks (right) at the end of a hallway, near the kitchen, holding the gun. The couple is pictured with their daughter in June 2021. Brown was pregnant with Brixtyn at the time
A GoFundMe campaign was created to cover funeral costs for Brown and her children. The mother was an early childhood educator and reportedly well-loved throughout the community
Investigators collected and removed evidence from the home as they continue to probe the incident.
‘I’ve seen a lot in 30 years, but children – and especially children that are killed by gunshots and burned – it’s pretty heinous, so it’s pretty close to the worst, if not the worst,’ the sheriff added.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help cover the funeral expenses and honor the mother and her young children.
Brown’s loved ones say she was an early childhood educator and well-loved throughout the community.
‘She loved her students and went the extra mile to make sure they were cared for as her own,’ the fundraising page states. ‘Ashton lived to be the best mother she could be for her two children, Bella and Brixytn. We are saddened by this sudden tragedy and wish to honor and remember them as such.’
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. For confidential help, call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here.
Source: Daily Mail