Leonard community shocked about missing family

By: Jalah Gray Email
By: Jalah Gray Email

FANNIN COUNTY, TX - Residents in the small community of Leonard are still in shock after a local family went missing late last week and were possibly found dead yesterday near Sherman.

Leonard Community Fellowship Pastor, Willie Johnson, says he still can't believe it.

"You know I pastored for thirty years or longer, and that's the first time I've ever had people murdered within my congregation, it's a shock to everybody."said Pastor Johnson.

Harold and Sue Harpst had been attending his church for the last 6 months, but last Sunday they left early and he never saw them again.
The couple and their adult daughter Regina Taunton disappeared from their home in Leonard last week.
Three bodies were found on Highway 11 near Sherman Saturday night, and are believed to be those of the Harpst's and their daughter.

"They just seem like an every day person that come to Leonard, they fit well in the community, and took part in everything and seemed to be happy." said Johnson.

"Harold was easy going, really giving, hard working, loved the outdoors." said neighbor, Darvin Nolen.

Investigators found evidence of foul play inside the home.
Even more shocking to local residents, Sue Harpst son, 52 year old Thomas Taunton, is currently a suspect.
He was arrested Thursday in Lousiana on 3 felony murder warrants.

"He was just more of a caring person than that, there's nothing that I've seen in his nature, and the way that he worked for Harold and Sue both, I wish there was some way to make sense out of it." said Nolen.

"Looked like an older son, that maybe sometimes he might have had some trouble or something but he was just as nice and polite and helpful to the family, and he was nice and polite to us, and he kind of stayed to himself, he didn't bother anybody." Johnson said.

Taunton is currently in the Desoto Parish jail awaiting extradition.

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  • by anon on Jan 23, 2012 at 08:55 PM
    I hope he has a good lawyer. Fannin county seems to have tunnel vision just as they did a few years back with the Hicks case when they couldnt prove he shot the policeman they trumped up some charges of illegal possesion of a rifle and sent him to prison CASE CLOSED??
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