NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Investigators with the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office, Texas Rangers, and the city fire marshal's office are investigating a blaze at a two-story home in the Carrizo Creek Subdivision that authorities believe is the result of an "attempted murder-suicide crime."
Firefighters found the body of a woman with a gunshot wound to her chest in the home, and they managed to rescue her bedridden common-law husband. The man has since been released from the hospital.
"The sheriff's office is treating this as an open homicide investigation, but we believe that this was an apparent attempted murder-suicide crime," Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges said in a press release. "All evidence and facts that we have gathered at this time are leading us to believe that Goff intentionally set the house on fire before shooting herself in the living room."
In addition to fire crews from the Nacogdoches Fire Department, firefighters from the Swift Shady Grove and the Central Heights volunteer fire departments were paged out to the fire at approximately 8 a.m. Monday. The fire occurred on FM 1878, near the entrance of Carrizo Creek Estates.
A neighbor called in the fire after he or she spotted smoke coming from the residence.
Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Kerry Don Williams pronounced Margi Lynn Goff, 61, dead at the scene. The press release stated that investigators noticed that Goff had what appeared to be a self-inflicted, close-contact wound in her chest with burn marks from the weapon. Williams ordered an autopsy be performed on Goff's body.
"She also had some other marks on her body," said Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges. "We believe that [the wound] may have been self-inflicted. However, this is an open investigation, and we're still looking into it."
Bridges said firefighters found Goff's body in the living room of the home. A pistol was found near her body, he said.
Firefighters rescued Hal David Parris, a 65-year-old stroke victim, from a medical bed in one of the home's bedrooms. The press release stated that Parris has been bedridden for several years.
"The sheriff's office has gained information that Goff had been depressed recently and had mentioned committing suicide to her husband," the press release stated.
NCSO investigators at the scene established that there was no evidence of forced entry into the home. The press release also said that authorities believe Goff and Parris were the only ones in the home when the incident occurred.
Investigators told the East Texas news that Parris is unable to speak. However, they said they are that through yes/no questions, Parris can tell them if his common-law wife was responsible for setting the fire.
When firefighters entered the gutted house, they found a "hot spot" that immediately told them that the fire was likely intentionally set.
"Right now, we have an extreme amount of destruction on the second floor of the house and heavy damage in the first floor as well, on the ground level," said Jody Chandler, a fire investigator with the Nacogdoches Fire Department.
Fire investigators collected evidence at the scene, and it will be sent off to a lab for analysis in the hopes that it will help them identify what was used to start the fire.
Neighbor Esther Jones said she thought it would have been out of character for Goff, Parris' primary caregiver, to have reached a breaking point that set Monday's events into motion.
"She was a friendly, completely unselfish," Jones said. "It's really a tragedy."
Nearby, residents waited behind a barricade. Many of them said they would often see Goff sitting outside day and night. Sometimes, she was with her husband, and sometimes she wasn't.