Deaths of Battlefield, Mo. couple in January ruled as murder-suicide

Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 6:02 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 9:12 PM CDT
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BATTLEFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Investigators with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office ruled the deaths of a Battlefield couple found in a burning home in January as a murder-suicide.

Firefighters found the bodies of Shawna Kipp, 50, and Don Kipp, 59, in their home on January 27. They believe the couple died that morning. A neighbor noticed flames coming from the home around 6 a.m. Some neighbors say they heard a boom, others heard clanking noises earlier in the night.

Firefighters found Shawna Kipp dead in bed in the master bedroom. She had been shot in the chest. An autopsy found seven bullet fragments in her body and an eighth bullet fragment in her spine. A coroner ruled her death as a homicide. Firefighters found Don Kipp dead in a recliner from a shot to his head. Detectives say they found him holding a gun in his right hand with shell casings on the floor. They say he also had a second magazine in his pocket. Fire investigators say the fire started in the master bedroom of the home. Investigators found cans of kerosene in the bedroom and next to Kipp by the recliner.

More than four months later, family, friends and neighbors finally know what happened inside that house.

“I wasn’t that surprised because of how... When the fire department and everybody came, the vehicles that were in and out of there. That made us think that something was going on, but if I had not seen all that I would have been surprised, because I never saw anything going on over there that looked like there were any problems or anything,” said neighbor Lois Paquin-Cepeda.

Investigators believe the motive of Shawna’s murder may have been an affair. In the report obtained by KY3, more than one friend or co-worker mention affairs by both of the Kipps. One friend said they had martial issues and Shawna had moved out at some point over the year before her murder, but that she had moved back in six months prior to her death and they were going through counseling.

According to the report, another friend said Shawna had told her of a time when Don hit or slapped her. The friend had asked Shawna about it because of a bruise or mark on Shawna’s face. The friend said it was during the time Shawna had moved out of the house.

Also in the report, a detective says he went to the Wampler and Passanise law office to interview both Dee Wampler and Joe Passanise regarding the death of their employee. Wampler interviewed with the detective. Wampler said she was Mr. Passanise’s secretary and a good employee.

Mr. Wampler stated “he sent her and a number of other employees photos he had on his cell phone that he had taken of them as he was cleaning out photographs from his phone. He said he sent her photographs on Tuesday, January 26th, at about 5:45 p.m.” That was the night before the bodies were discovered inside the house.

When asked about any extra martial affairs, the report says Wampler stated, “he had heard rumors of that”. When he was asked who it was, Wampler said “he would rather not say.”

Detectives tried to interview Joe Passanise, but “he didn’t have time to provide a statement”. And when they tried to schedule a time with him, he said “he was still upset over the matter and did not want to provide a statement.”

Through search warrants, investigators obtained several RING camera system videos from the house. According to the paperwork for a search warrant on the RING system at the house, the couple is shown several times the evening of the January 26, the night before their deaths, outside their house.

At 9:58 p.m. Shawna is seen leaving the house with her purse and a bag. She walks out to her car, gets in to leave and backs out of the driveway. Don is seen coming outside and yells, “Hey, wait.” He waves his right hand and has what looks like a cell phone in his hand, according to the report. Shawna stops her car in the road. Don says, “I don’t get this at all.” They have a discussion and detectives say you can hear Shawna say, “I’m coming in.” Shawna then pulls the car into the driveway.

At 10:50 p.m. Shawna is seen walking out to her car empty-handed wearing a coat. She gets to her car, tries to enter, however, it appears to be locked. The report obtained by KY3 says Shawna looks into the window and begins walking back toward the house when Don comes outside. Shawna says “unlock my car.” Don then walks into camera view and says, “actually, I would have it on the camera that you backed out onto the street.” Shawna can be heard saying “Congratulations.”

Detectives say you can’t hear the rest of the conversation. According to the report, they both walked back into the house. She is last seen by the front door camera on the front porch at 11:05 p.m. Don is seen several more times on the front porch smoking throughout the next few hours until the last provided front door video at 1:53 a.m., the morning the bodies are discovered. Toxicology results show both of them had been drinking heavily that night.

Don Kipp worked at Jack Henry and Associates. Shawna Kipp worked at Dee Wampler and Associates. The Kipps had five children between them and multiple grandchildren.

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