N.H. AG: Haverhill Pair Died in Murder-Suicide

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/16/2017 6:57:49 PM
Modified: 8/17/2017 12:24:53 PM

Haverhill — The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday determined the deaths of a Wells River salon owner and her ex-boyfriend were the result of a murder-suicide.

A preliminary investigation found that Robert Taylor, 45, shot and killed Chrystal Lewis, 44, in her Haverhill home before turning the gun on himself, according to a news release.

Autopsies were performed on Wednesday morning, a day after their bodies were found inside Lewis’ Pine Park home.

Lewis suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, and her death has been ruled a homicide, according to the news release.

Taylor’s death also was the result of a gunshot wound to the head, the release said. His death has been ruled a suicide.

The two had been dating for several years, but Lewis ended the relationship sometime in July, according to the release.

Lewis was born in Haverhill and graduated from the Woodsville High School in 1990, according to her obituary. She then graduated from the Concord Academy of Hair Design and began working at Oxbow Hair Design in Bradford, Vt.

In 2006, she and her sister Cassidy VanNamee opened The Dragonfly’s Den in Wells River.

“It was fun. They were just so friendly, so complimentary,” said Sue Page, a customer of the salon who recently moved to Idaho after more than 20 years living in Wells River.

Page often cut her own hair, but she would occasionally go to the salon, where Lewis and VanNamee would pamper her.

“It was just a pleasure to go there. I can’t say enough nice things about both of them because they were a team,” Page said. “They weren’t just sisters, they were best friends.”

Page said she recently came back to New England to attend a close friend’s funeral and saw both sisters, who attempted to cheer Page up.

“I was the farthest thing from beautiful that day, but they would bring out the beauty inside you,” she said. “I never knew two nicer girls.”

Lewis’ relatives declined to comment on Wednesday, and messages left for Taylor’s family were not returned.

Taylor, an auto and heating technician, last worked at Hood Plumbing and Heating in Haverhill. A man who picked up the business phone on Wednesday afternoon declined to comment.

Both Lewis and Taylor were a frequent presence at draft horse pulls throughout New England, according to Barton, Vt., resident Jeff Simpson, who competed in events against the two.

The competition starts with horses pulling a weighted sled, Simpson said. As teams are eliminated, more weight is added until the horses that can pull the most weight the farthest distance win.

Taylor competed with his horse, named Dick Squirrel, and placed in several Upper Valley pulls organized by the Eastern Draft Horse Association.

On its Facebook page, the group offered its condolences on Wednesday around noon, saying “she will be surely missed” and that it was sending “thoughts and prayers” to her friends and family.

“They were both well-liked by all in the horse world,” Simpson said on Wednesday.

Taylor began competing a few years ago and Lewis followed shortly after with a pair of mini horses, he recalled.

Simpson said the two also were known to exhibit their horses at the North Haverhill Fair and offer wagon rides on occasion.

“Everybody’s always happy and good to be around,” Simpson said of the competitions. “(Lewis) always had a smile.”

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.

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