The seven people found dead in Sumner County over the weekend include the father, mother and uncle of the suspect.
The other four victims' relationship to the suspect is still unclear, authorities said at a press conference Monday morning. The suspect, 25-year-old Michael Cummins, remains in custody.
Law enforcement discovered the incident Saturday following a 911 call. They located several people dead near the small town of Westmoreland, about an hour northeast of Nashville. They also learned of a second scene nearby, where another person had been killed.
TBI Director David Rausch said the bodies may have been there for at least a day.
“I want to help you understand that it is not only complex but horrific,” Rausch said of the scene. “Gruesome, I guess, would probably be the best adjective to use to describe it.”
In fact, after an hours-long manhunt that ended with law enforcement tracking Cummins down in a creek bed, authorities continued to find bodies. By Sunday afternoon, the total death toll had risen from five to seven. One other person — also identified as a relative of Cummins — is in critical condition.
According to the TBI, the victims identified are:
- David Carl Cummins, the father of Michael Cummins
- Clara Jane Cummins, the mother of Michael Cummins
- Charles Edward Hosale, the uncle of Michael Cummins
- Rachel Dawn McGlothlin-Pee, relationship unknown
- Sapphire McGlothlin-Pee, Rachel’s daughter
- Marsha Elizabeth Nuckols, Rachel’s mother
- Shirley Fehrle, no known relationship to Michael Cummins
The TBI says this is the deadliest homicide event in the state in at least 20 years.
As of Monday afternoon, Cummins had been charged with one count of homicide and one count of theft of property, according to affidavits filed in Sumner County.
Law enforcement said Cummins stole a car belonging to Fehrle and abandoned it in a nearby creek.
Police interviewed two men who said “they had seen Michael Cummins wearing a white T-shirt with blood stains, and Michael Cummins told them that the stains on his shirt were chocolate. ... In addition [the men] stated that Michael Cummins told them that if anything goes down, he would get blamed for it, and he was saving a bullet for himself.”
Authorities have declined to describe the causes of death for the victims, but a court affidavit says Fehrle appeared to have blunt force trauma to her face.
Cummins was brought to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after at least one officer fired at him during the manhunt. The TBI says it's investigating the officer-involved shooting, as well as the seven deaths.
Suspect Had Previous Record
Michael Lee Cummins has a criminal history in Sumner County, and he was still on probation from a prior conviction when authorities chased him down Saturday.
His criminal record there dates back to 2012, when Cummins was convicted of simple drug possession. A year later, he was convicted of assaulting an aunt. Records show he was also found guilty of violating his probation and a protective order involving a teen girl he’d been ordered to leave alone.
Charges against Cummins escalated in 2017 and were accompanied by a cycle of probation violations.
In February, he was found guilty of stealing a neighbor’s turkey and then evading arrest when authorities came to investigate. At a sentencing in April, a judge ordered him to undergo mental health treatment.
The next month, he was arrested for taking money from his mother and his grandmother.
Then in September, he tried to burn down his neighbor’s mobile home, according to court records. Authorities who rushed to the scene on Charles Brown Road that morning — close to where six of the bodies were found this weekend — said they found a small fire burning beneath the home.
The female resident said she’d smelled smoke and was then knocked down by Cummins when she came outside to extinguish the flames. She said he was armed with a revolver that day.
Authorities who arrested Cummins said he made two clear threats in the aftermath, saying that he would repeat the incident or "finish the job" if he got out of jail. Cummins was convicted of attempted aggravated arson and aggravated assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
But he got out much sooner.
On Jan. 24 of this year, a judge placed Cummins on probation for 10 years, ordering him to stay away from the neighbor and undergo a mental health evaluation. When he was released from jail, Cummins listed a residential address about a mile away from his prior home — close to the homes of several relatives and the woods where authorities caught him Saturday.
This story was last updated at 4:45 p.m.