Harold E Harpst was born
He was the son of Harold E & Lena (Adams) Harpst.
He was the
husband of Willie Sue (Walthall) Taunton Harpst,
Survivors include his children, Sarah and Mark (from a prior marriage.) and step-children, Regina Taunton and Thomas Taunton.
He was a
graduate of the
FANNIN COUNTY -- Fannin
opened the trailer the 52-year-old
“Sue was probably the
strong one in the family," said Willie Johnson, who was the Harpst’s
pastor at a small community church on the square in Leonard.
affectionately about Harold Harpst, A diabetic who
lost both his legs.
"And with Harold
being in a wheelchair, we had something in common. And he was always
joking. He said he would join the church when he got to where he could
walk. And I said, well, you're never going to join then. And we
laughed about that," said Johnson.
The Pastor said Tom
Taunton visited his family in between construction jobs.
"It was very
shocking because he seemed to be attentive to both of them,” Pastor Johnson
said. “As of last week, Thomas and his step-father were over here. They
sat out here in the driveway and talked for quite a while about
Johnson said the Harpsts were at his Sunday church service but left
early. The pastor told us on Sunday night at ,
"You know, he seemed
a little bit different,” Johnson said. “He was quiet."
News 8 learned investigators are also looking for the Harpst’s silver Dodge Caravan equipped with a wheelchair lift. Neighbors said they haven't seen it since Sunday.
LEONARD - A man has been arrested in the
suspected homicide of three people at a ranch in
Thomas Taunton, 52, was arrested in
The relation of
Earlier in the afternoon,
Neighbors identified the couple as Harold
and Sue Harpst, who live just outside of Leonard in
Mr. Harpst is a double leg amputee and a diabetic. The couple's daughter moved into the ranch home to care for her elderly parents several years ago, neighbors said.
The couple have lived in Leonard for the last seven years and were last seen by neighbors on Sunday.
LEONARD, Texas — Fannin County detectives are still looking for evidence after three murder victims were found Saturday night.
The bodies of Harold and Sue Harpst and her adult daughter Regina Taunton of Leonard
were found in a barn near
Residents in this small community are now dealing with the reality of murder — and few answers to all their questions.
Darvin Nolen still looks at the front porch where he and Harold Harpst would rock and talk for hours. "He would kind of solve the world's problems sitting on that front porch," Nolen said.
And Nolen recalls the phone conversations with Thomas Taunton, hours before police started asking questions about Harpst's stepson.
"Thomas and Harold had a falling out, and Harold asked him to leave," Nolen explained. "He said, 'I hadn't been back in a couple of weeks, and now I can't get in touch with anybody.' He said, 'I just wanted to know what was going on.'"
Harold and Sue Harpst
and their adult daughter were all found dead near a barn in
County Sheriff said more evidence was recovered at the scene, but there are
still no answers as to how the family died — or what links
The Leonard community looked for answers at Sunday church services. Pastor Willie Johnson found comfort in scripture at the Harpst's home church.
He described the morning ritual as tense, with the congregation still in shock, seeking comfort.
Nolen wishes he had asked different
"There won't be any more of them long conversations," Nolen said. "I just can't believe that it's real. That it's really happened."
The medical examiner will attempt to determine how, where and when the three victims were killed.
The medical examiner identified the bodies as Sue and Harold Harpst and their adult daughter Regina Taunton of Leonard. While the cause of death for Mr. Harpst's has been confirmed to have been that from a gunshot wound, the cause of deaths for the other two victims have not been released.
The suspect in their deaths, Thomas
Taunton, Sue Harpst's son, waived extradition in
Authorities first became suspicious after receiving
a missing persons report Wednesday and upon entering the Harpst's home Friday
to discover evidence of foul play. The bodies of the three victims were found
the following day in a barn near
Suspect in 3 deaths
All three died of gunshot wounds
Thomas L. Taunton was
arrested last week near
Autopsies showed all three
victims died of gunshot wounds. They were found Saturday near
Thomas Taunton was arrested
Thursday after authorities found his pickup truck at a repair shop in Stonewall,
Neighbors in Leonard last
saw the three victims more than a week ago at Sunday church services in
Leonard, the (
The Fannin County Sheriff's Office did not release new details Monday. The Texas Rangers declined to comment
(Harold Harpst is a double leg amputee and a diabetic.)
Fannin County victims died of gunshots By Mary Jane Farmer Herald Democrat
LEONARD — The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office has returned its preliminary findings on the cause and manner of death in the case of the three Leonard area residents found dead in a Sherman area field late Saturday, three days after Fannin County Sheriff’s Office began searching for the missing family members.
Grayson County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2,
James Harris reported that the medical examiner’s office has positively
identified all three victims as Harold Harpst, 73, Sue Harpst, 79, and Sue’s daughter Regina Taunton, 48. Their findings are that the deaths are
homicide caused by gunshots to each victim.
Sources asking that their identifications be withheld have said that
Regina Taunton was to have testified Monday morning in a
Suspect Thomas Lloyd Taunton, 52, was returned from
It appears from interviews with local residents and fellow church members that it was Jan. 15 when anyone last saw the three people alive, as they left a Leonard church in their specially-equipped van, necessary to accommodate Mr. Harpst, a double amputee.
The vehicle is still missing, as of Monday, said Fannin County S.O. Chief Deputy James Woods. It is a silver 2007 Dodge Caravan with
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of this vehicle is urged to quickly call the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office at 903-583-2143 or contact the nearest law enforcement agency. The vehicle is listed in state and national crime information databases.
On Wednesday the Fannin
County Sheriff’s Office received information, Sheriff Donnie Foster said
earlier, that the Harpsts and Ms. Taunton were
missing from their home, a 17-acre tract on State Highway 78 between Leonard
and Bailey. When they went to and then inside the house, officers found
“evidence of foul play,” Foster said. They began an investigation that hasn’t
yet culminated, but progressed rapidly Thursday afternoon when
Saturday afternoon a