CANDLER, NC – On New Year’s Day, 911 received some calls about the possibility of a shooting. Police went to a neighborhood located on Old Highway 19-23 where they discovered three dead people located in two neighboring houses. At this time, two victims still remain unidentified, but the third victim was identified as 49-year-old Angela Heatwole. The assailant responsible for her death was allegedly her estranged husband, Richard Heatwole, who after killing his wife, fled the scene with their children, Haley Heatwole, 10, and Hayes Heatwole, 6. An Amber Alert was sent out in an effort to locate the children and to get them in the hands of officials where they would be safe from potential harm.
After receiving a tip on Richard’s whereabouts, police believed Richard Heatwole fled to a cousin’s home in Taylorsville, NC. Police, concerned about Richard’s alleged domestic violence history and the most recent events, headed to the location and a hostage situation developed when police tried to talk Richard into releasing the children. Later that evening as the hostage standoff continued, Richard made a suicide attempt and died from the self-inflicted gunshot wound. The two Heatwole children survived the ordeal unharmed, but are now orphaned.