Teacher & 8-Year-Old Son Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide


WBIR 10

A community is in mourning after a teacher allegedly killed himself after taking the life of his 8-year-old son in their home. Police said they were called to a home in Maryville, Tennessee, around 9:30 a.m. Monday after a home inspector, who had arrived for a scheduled appointment, reported a fire.

  • There they found James Reagan, 38, and Clark Reagan, 8, on a bed with gunshot wounds.

    Before discovering the bodies, firefighters had arrived at the scene and found a small fire inside the home along with a heavy smell of gasoline, according to a statement from Maryville Police. 

    Police said James Reagan was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead about an hour after his arrival. His son died shortly thereafter at a different hospital.

    "This is a time of unimaginable grief as we process the passing of our beloved Clark Riley Reagan," his family said, according to WBIR 10. "He was a beautiful and joyful boy, and our lives were so blessed by him. We are devastated and heartbroken, but we take comfort in knowing that he is with Jesus now. Our journey forward will begin with a celebration of life."

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  • Clark was a student at Foothills Elementary School, where his father was a first-grade teacher.

    Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp said the boy's mother, Miranda Reagan, was separated from the father. In court filings shared by WBIR 10, the mother had filed for divorce in January of this year, stating that she was concerned her husband was misusing medication.

    The documents go on to recount several instances of the husband’s misuse of pain medications and detail a situation that took place in a hospital where James allegedly struck a nurse.

  • Clark’s heartbroken grandfather remembered his grandson.

    “He was my buddy,” the boy’s grandfather, David Talley, told WVLT News.

    “Our rubber farm boots sat side by side just outside the door. We loved to feed our horses and carry in firewood together. He was the best little helper you could imagine. I don’t have to tell you how much I am going to miss my Clarkie,” he said.

    Talley told WVLT News that Clark and his two cousins had dreams of becoming famous comic book artists when they grew up.

    "He always brought such an intense energy and smile to the pool deck. No matter what we asked of him, he would always have the best attitude and passion for the water. Not just for himself but also for his teammates," said Emily Allen, one of his swim coaches. "I would love to have every child in every lane be like him."

  • Neighbors on the idyllic-sounding Savannah Village Drive where the family lived were emotional and shocked at the news.

    Jolly Shelton lives two doors from the Reagans and witnessed first responders arriving on the scene. "I guess we're all feeling kind of helpless,” she told she told WBIR 10. "What can we do? You know if only we could've done something before. It's people are just stunned," Shelton said. 

    "I mean, the poor mother, and for their family ... what a tragic, tragic loss," she said.

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