By Dave Russell


Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a request for a health and welfare check Sunday found two men dead in a home at 186 Walter Ashe Road, Sylva. 

Investigators concluded the home was the scene of a murder-suicide. They said Travis Akers, 38, shot his father, Rick Akers, 63, then turned the gun on himself. 

The 911 call came in at 6:56 p.m., according to 911 Communications Coordinator Wanda Hall, who provided a transcript of the call to the Herald.

One of Rick Akers’ sons made the call from the Walmart parking lot. He told dispatchers his mother was at the 186 Walter Ashe Road property. According to Jackson County tax records, the home belongs to Rick Akers’ wife, Melissa Akers.

“She arrived to go in and check on my Dad and the doors are locked and things are a mess inside and she can’t get in,” the caller said. “I’m trying to get over there, but I was wondering if you could get someone there?”

At that point, the dispatcher took some information from the caller about his identity.

Then the dispatcher asks, “Do you think something’s wrong with him or what’s the problem? Do you have any idea?”

The caller replied, “Yeah, he’s not responding. Nobody’s coming to the door; looks like there’s a mess in the house and she can’t get in.”

The dispatcher said someone would go to the house and meet with her.

The Sylva Police Department and State Bureau of Investigation provided assistance.

Arrest records from the Sylva Police Department and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office indicate Travis Akers has an extensive history of arrests, dating back to 2011 for failure to pay child support.

In 2013, he was arrested for two counts of possession of Schedule II controlled substance; possession of schedule IV CS; drug violations-equipment/paraphernalia; identity theft; failure to appear for expired registration card/tag, expired/no inspection, driving while license revoked, misdemeanor larceny; larceny of chose in action; and larceny.

In 2014, he was charged with injury to personal property; misdemeanor larceny; larceny of a firearm; failure to appear for simple possession Schedule II CS and possess drug paraphernalia; drug violations; drug violations-equipment/paraphernalia-possessing/concealing; and contempt of court.

In 2018, he was arrested for possession of Schedule II CS; possession of Schedule VI CS; possession of drug paraphernalia; assault with a deadly weapon; assault by pointing a gun; possession of drug paraphernalia; simple possession of a Schedule IV CS; simple possession of a Schedule II CS.