Friday, September 17, 2021

Ex-con Murders Mom and Daughter 23 Years Apart, Then Drowns Himself

Martha McKay and Travis Lewis

*Travis Lewis, 39, was paroled in 2018 after he spent over two decades in prison for the 1996 murder of an Arkansas woman and her nephew. 

Upon his release, Lewis returned to the family’s historical Snowden House in Horseshoe Lake to kill the woman’s daughter, Martha McKay.  Now the town is reeling after tragedy struck the same family twice — both times at the hands of the same killer, PEOPLE reports. 

When he was 16-years-old, Lewis fatally shot 75-year-old Sally Snowden McKay and her nephew, Lee Baker, 52, on Sept. 10, 1996. On Wednesday (March 26), the ex-convict returned to the upscale neighborhood to murder the Sally’s daughter, Martha, 63, and then drowned himself after attempting to flee from police.

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When police responded to an alarm at the Snowden House, McKay was found dead inside from multiple stab wounds. Lewis reportedly jumped from an upstairs window and ran to his vehicle. As he drove across the property, the car got stuck in the yard, so he “jumped from the car and ran and jumped into the lake,”  Crittenden County Sheriff Mike Allen said in a statement.

“He was observed going under the water and never came back up,” Allen said in a news release. “The Arkansas Game and Fish and Crittenden County Search and Rescue were called, and Game and Fish used their sonar equipment and Search and Rescue was able to locate and recover the body of the suspect.”

Using sonar equipment, a search and rescue team was able to locate and recover Lewis’s body.

Authorities are now investigating why he killed McKay. His parents once lived on a property on Horseshoe Lake owned by the Snowden family, the Commercial Appeal has reported.

Allen told Dateline there were reports that Martha had been in touch with Lewis during his time in prison, and after he was released, NBC News reports. 

“I think it was her mission to find out what happened to her mother, and to find out if someone else was involved,” Sheriff Allen said.

After the 1996 murders, Lewis was paroled in 2018 after serving 23 years of his 28 year sentence.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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