Husband, wife die in suspicious house fire, 5-year-old child survives

Rockwall fire fighters work the scene of a possible murder-suicide Monday morning.
Rockwall fire fighters work the scene of a possible murder-suicide Monday morning. WFAA

A husband and wife who were college professors died in what authorities are calling an intentional house fire set early Monday morning.

Police said evidence at the scene indicated the fire was set to cover up a murder-suicide involving the couple. Investigators say they believe the husband, identified as Hyun Seop Lee, 42, shot and killed his wife, Yoon Duk Kim, 39, before setting the house on fire and then killing himself with a handgun.

A 5-year-old child living at the residence was found asleep in a vehicle parked in the driveway, according to Rockwall Police Department spokesman Aaron McGrew. The child was unharmed but transported to a local hospital as a precaution, he said, and has since been turned over to Child Protective Services.

McGrew said police received a 911 call from someone reporting a fire in the 1200 block of White Water Drive at 4:55 a.m.

The Rockwall Fire Department responded and found the residence on fire. After entering, they found the two deceased adults inside.

"There’s pretty clear and apparent evidence that some foul play was involved at some point during the incident," McGrew told CBS 11.

Kim was an assistant engineering professor at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Her husband was an assistant professor at Grambling State University and served as an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University-Commerce for several months in 2016.

A&M-Commerce President Ray Keck issued a statement Monday calling the news of their deaths "devastating."

image001 (1).jpg
Dr. Debbie Kim, who died in a house fire on Monday, May 7, had been been an assistant professor with the College of Science & Engineering at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Texas A&M University-Commerce Courtesy

He said the dean of science and technology at the school called Kim "one of my stars."

"This tragedy knocks us to our knees," Keck said in the statement, "an occurrence more appropriate to the Greek classics than to Rockwall-Commerce."

He said the school's dean of students asks "that 'we watch out for one another' in this incomprehensible, dark time. And that we gratefully remember Dr. Kim’s extraordinarily warm presence, her scholarship, and her stellar teaching."

He said the schools' counseling center will be open to students in need of help.

The Rockwall Police Department Criminal Investigation Division and the Rockwall Fire Marshall’s office are continuing to investigate the incident.

On the morning of Wednesday, April 25, police say 19-year-old Louis Nickerson burst through the door of an apartment where his ex-girlfriend Clarissa Riojas and her younger sister stayed. He shot Riojas to death then shot and killed himself

A couple and two Hurst police officers were injured April 7, 2018 when a car crashed into the side of a house, causing an explosion. The explosion was captured by Hurst officer Travis Hiser's police dashcam.

Stephen English: 817-390-7330, @sbenglish74