Nacogdoches woman shot to death while cooking for kids

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches woman was fatally shot inside her home while cooking dinner for her two small children Wednesday night, according to a spokesman for the Nacogdoches Police Department.

Police say the suspect is at-large and detectives have interviewed a suspect, Sergeant Greg Sowell said in a press conference Thursday morning.

At 9:12 p.m., Nacogdoches police responded to a call of a gunshot on the 2100 block of Kings Row.

Sowell said a gunman shot Melissa Kissinger Barnhill, 38, from outside the home through the kitchen window. Barnhill died at the scene from a single gunshot wound to her neck.

Barnhill's children, aged 10 and 3, are in the custody of family members.

According to a media advisory, police were aware of ongoing domestic problems between Barnhill and her estranged husband, Kyle Edwin Barnhill, who owns Zesty Burger in Nacogdoches. Police interviewed her husband Wednesday night and into early Thursday morning but did not arrest or charge him.

A protective order was issued for Barnhill's husband, Kyle Edwin Barnhill, on Feb. 13, 2009, by the Nacogdoches County Court. Kyle Edwin Barnhill was was prohibited from communicating in any manner with Melissa Barnhill or her two children. He was also prohibited from going to or near Melissa Barnhill's residence on Kings Row, Nacogdoches Medical Center Hospital or the childrens' school. The order also suspended Kyle Edwin Barnhill's license to carry a concealed weapon.

Melissa Barnhill showed the court text messages Kyle Barnhill had sent her.

"We need to talk about an decide who would raise our kids in the event of the unthinkable. Stupid not to have arranged that," one of the text messages said.

A former neighbor said Mellissa Barnhill worked every time he saw her.

"She worked at the hospital all the time and when they was down here at the house she was outside with the girls, working and cleaning flower beds and that kind of stuff, they kept a real neat place," Kenneth Shotwell said.

Shotwell said he did not get to know Kyle Barnhill very well.

"He was a quiet and distant fellow to me," Shotwell said.

Kyle Barnhill's last job was at Posado's as a night manager. He recently applied for a sales job at KTRE. During the job interview, he said he wanted a day job so he could spend more time with his family.

Shotwell said he never expected something like this.

"It kind of bothers you, you know that something this close from home happens to you like people like that right down the street from you. Which I know it's happening all around the country now, but it hits close to home when it happens three or four houses next to you," Shotwell said.

Anyone with any information related to this crime may call the Nacogdoches Police Department at 559-2607 or Crime Stoppers at 560-INFO.