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Son reacts after Cherokee County dad kills his daughter before shooting himself

Chris Newhouse calls it a “tragic cumulation” of mental health issues
Son reacts to family murder-suicide
Published: Mar. 20, 2022 at 1:47 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2022 at 9:30 PM EDT
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CANTON, Ga. (CBS46) - Chris Newhouse said he woke up from a nap on Saturday evening with a bunch of mixed calls, texts, and a life-changing voicemail from his mom.

“I get the voicemail from my mom, [who said] your dad killed your sister and then killed himself,” said Newhouse in an exclusive interview with CBS46 on Sunday.

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Around 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, Cherokee County Police responded to a Canton home where officials confirmed Howard Newhouse, 57, shot and killed his 19-year-old daughter, Kathryn Newhouse, before killing himself.

Howard (Terry) Newhouse. Picture provided by Chris Newhouse
Howard (Terry) Newhouse. Picture provided by Chris Newhouse(CBS46 News)

Capt. Jay Baker said Howard Newhouse’s wife was in the house during the double shooting.

“I think my mom is doing fine, as fine as she can be. I’m there for her. I’ll always be there for her,” said Chris.

Newhouse agreed to talk with CBS46 because he said he wanted to refocus the narrative of the story.

He’d seen the headlines.

And while he recognized the truth in the tragedy – that his dad killed his sister before shooting himself – he stressed that this incident was preceded by years of trauma.

“A tragic culmination of all of these different mental health issues that kind of compounded and led to such a, escalated to a situation that – it shouldn’t have happened, but it happened,” said Newhouse.

Newhouse explained how his sister was a transgender woman who suffered from years of psychological disorders.

Kathryn Newhouse, from Facebook page. (Confirmed by Chris Newhouse)
Kathryn Newhouse, from Facebook page. (Confirmed by Chris Newhouse)(CBS46 News)

Chris pointed to when Kathryn was released from an in-patient mental health institution just before the pandemic started as a significant trigger to issues at home.

“Whenever they pushed her out of that mental health intuition and forced her to come back home, that’s when everything really brought a lot of stress and tension upon our family and that’s when a lot of the stressful stuff started happening,” said Newhouse, a senior at Georgia Tech.

In March 2020, Clayton County officials issued a Mattie’s Call for Kathryn Leigh Newhouse almost two years to the day of her death after she ran away from a Jonesboro home she was last seen at.

Chris confirmed his sister is the Kathryn Newhouse referenced in the Mattie’s Call.

Neighbors told CBS46 News that police were called out to the home on Bridge Mill Avenue multiple times over the last few years after Kathryn experienced mental health episodes.

“Serious screaming, hollering, physical violence,” said Chris, describing what these episodes often looked like. “She’s nineteen, she can hurt my family now. These are not tantrums. They would happen very frequently,” he said.

Police said an investigation is still ongoing and have not provided a motive behind the double shooting.

“I know that Kate is living up there, you know, unburdened from all of the mental health issues right now,” said Chris.

Chris said he went to lunch with his dad and sister earlier on Saturday and there were not any signs of looming violence.

He said his dad helped him with his car and the three of them got milkshakes before he went back to Georgia Tech to take a nap.

“He’s not going to be able to see me graduate or anything like that. But I know he’s going to be there,” said Chris, who is set to graduate from Georgia Tech in six weeks.

He said while he’s heartbroken over his dad and sister’s deaths, he’s at peace.

“I’m at peace with what happened because I know my dad and my sister are both in a better place right now.”