The family of a man, who was the apparently victim of a murder suicide, is demanding answers tonight. They say authorities knew the suspect, who is also dead, was potentially dangerous but, as News 13’s Peyton LoCicero tells us, prosecutors tell a different story.
Walton County Sheriff’s deputies received a 911 call from a Highway 181-C home in Ponce De Leon, just after midnight on March 29th. When they arrived, it was covered in flames. Fire rescue teams found two bodies inside.
Authorities still haven’t released the names of the two people, but the victim’s family is certain.
“I arrived here 40 minutes later to find this place totally engulfed in flames. I had to walk in here and point through the windows to where my brother may be. Then, I had to hear the terror that my nephew had to go through,” shared Robert Yancey, Raymond Leon Yancey’s Brother.
Family members say the two bodies inside were, Raymond Leon Yancey and Rebecca Joyce Rushing-Barker.
Yancey’s 26 year-old-son, Raymond Albert Yancey, escaped unharmed.
“My nephew went around the house and hurried and caved the door in and said, “There ain’t nobody shootin’ no effin’ body in here.” The woman was there standing over his dad and that was the last time he seen his daddy. He was covered in blood,” described (Robert) Yancey.
But Yancey’s daughter and brother say, there is more to this story. This was not the first time Rushing committed arson.
Rushing had allegedly attempted to burn down several other homes.
“This poor woman was let down by Walton County. There is no animosity towards her. I want her family to know that we are praying for them. This should never have happened. Walton County had more than one, more than two, more than three, more than four opportunities to fix this woman,” said (Robert) Yancey.
“I spoke with the Fire Marshall’s Office and they said they tried everything possible to get her the help she needed. And it falls back on the State Attorney’s Office and along with the Judges that signed off on her papers,” explained Heather Rushing, Raymond Leon Yancey’s Daughter.
Considering her background, why didn’t rushing face charges?
“Based upon the manner and the statements that were obtained from Mrs. Rushing, the case was evaluated and without those statements, it was likely that those cases were to be dismissed,” shared Josh Mitchell, Assistant State Attorney.
The State Attorney’s office did place Rushing on long term probation.
“As a result of that, there would be some form of controlling her and it would be able to address the mental health and substance abuse needs,” said Mitchell.
The autopsies could take up to six months because the bodies were burned so extensively.