BRISTOL, Va. – Washington County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a call for help early today found a woman dead in her yard and her husband dead in the home. Investigators said Dean Clayman, 47, shot his wife, Rebecca Ellen Clayman, 46, then turned the gun on himself inside their mobile home on Miller Hill Road, off of Gate City Highway.
Deputies found Rebecca Ellen Clayman in the yard with gunshot wounds to her face and chest. Paul Dean Clayman was in the bathroom with a single gunshot wound to the head and a .38-caliber Special handgun nearby.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
“A domestic situation appears to be the motivating factor in the incident,” Sheriff Fred Newman said in a news statement released today. “Also, based on the initial emergency call that came into our dispatch center, alcohol may have been a contributing factor in this tragic incident.”
Hours after the shootings, dozens of family members gathered at Becky Clayman’s father’s house, just next door to the home where the couple lived and died. Paul and Becky Clayman, John S. Battle High School sweethearts, had two sons, 18 and 21 years old. The 18-year-old just started his freshman year at University of Virginia College at Wise. The older brother lived at home with his parents while looking for work.
Relatives said they are all still in shock.
“It’s just like a story right now, something you hear about,” Becky Clayman’s niece, Carla Lilly, said. “The worst is yet to come – when they bring the bodies back, when it all sinks in. And next week’s Thanksgiving.”
For more on this story, see Sunday's Bristol Herald Courier.