Portland resident Brian David Atchison, 44, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Doris Atchison, his 69-year-old-mother.
He was originally arrested on May 25 on charges of abuse of a corpse and abuse to animals. The first-degree murder charge was added as a result of an autopsy and preliminary findings, which were consistent with a homicide. Statements by Atchison were corroborated by the autopsy findings.
The Portland Police Department discovered the body while following up on a referral from the Tennessee Department of Adult Protective Services (APS). The person who reported the concern to APS stated that there had been no contact with Doris Atkinson since March 2020 and had they growing concerns for her welfare.
According to an affidavit filed by Portland Det. Miranda Vaughan, while she was talking to neighbors, Atchison arrived at his residence at 830 South Broadway. Atchison stated his mother had left on Feb. 2020 to go visit her aunt in Indianapolis. Atchison allowed the detective to enter the house.
Vaughan reported that as soon as she entered the home, she immediately smelled a fowl odor. As she walked through the kitchen toward the hallway, she observed towels stuffed at the bottom of two bedroom doors.
Atchison indicated that the back bedroom was Doris Atkinson’s. When she opened the door, she saw piles of clothes and a chest knocked over. She reported that when she looked closer, she saw two feet that appeared to be female that were sticking up from underneath clothes. They appeared to have been there for some time.
A cooler with dead cats and kittens was found in the front bedroom.
According to the June 1, press release by Portland Police Chief Jason Williams, initially Atchison provided very little information about the situation; but when interviewed at a later date, he made statements implicating himself in the death of his mother. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation assisted the Portland Police Department in the processing of the crime scene.
Atchison is currently being housed at the Sumner County Jail with no bond. He is set to appear in Sumner County General Sessions Court on June 9, at 9 a.m.