KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – The house on 622 Gravely Road was known to be the center hub for family and friends of the Vaughn family.
Now, Lewis Vaughn’s son, Michael Vaughn is left picking up the pieces this week, after learning his father died and his nephew is a person of interest in his death.
“This is the first time I’ve been at the house in several years. Very upsetting. Just the story, the situation, on so many levels with the death of my father and my nephew being in the situation that he’s in now,” Vaughn said.
Michael Vaughn has been away from Tennessee for a few years, but on Thursday, he returned to an empty home. The home he remembers was full of life throughout his childhood.
“It was a house where anybody was welcomed,” Vaughn said. “This house here, my mother’s family built the house in early 40s and, she grew up here with her brothers and later on me.”
Michael Vaughn recalled his father 79-year-old Lewis Vaughn, being someone who was always caring.
“Always looking out, sending articles I would be interested in. He would always want news clippings of me and my family and high school events that we participated in,” he said.
The family traveled a lot due to his father being in the Navy.
“I always would remember my sisters would always send him letters around the world, currency and stories of what different cultures were like and where he was,” he said. “That always gave me a sense of travel and want to know that there are places outside and we grew up traveling as a military family often does.”
The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office said Michael’s nephew, 31-year-old Jeffry Chase Caldwell, is a person of interest in the death of Lewis Vaughn.
So far, he has not been charged in connection to Vaughn’s death.
“I know in the past years, he’s had some serious substance abuse. I haven’t been in contact with him. I’ve actually kind of removed myself from the situation, and encouraged my other family members to do so,” Vaughn said. “Chase was starting to recover and was participating in church again. Seemed to be making a positive direction. That’s what my father was trying to encourage.”
Michael said his family tried to help Caldwell.
“Growing up, he was a sweet boy, very athletic. He cared for his grandparents at a certain point and time. I don’t know what really happened to make him become like this,” Vaugn said. ‘His family loved him, cared for him, always wanted the best for him and his family tried to help time and time, and time again. It didn’t seem to ultimately stick.”
He hopes other families with members who have trouble with substance abuse to push them to get help.
“What I would hope would come from this tragic story for our family is that any law enforcement and news agencies can provide with this story, any type of direction for families out there, suffering from substance abuse or dealing with someone who is going through substance abuse that may be taking advantage of their family members,” Vaughn explained. “Because that’s the very common story and I feel like it’s maybe not talked about enough. So, as news agency, if you could provide any resources for anyone watching, anyone listening to direct anyone to some sort of help.”
Below are links to recovery resources in the Tri-Cities region: