Schools in several Ohio areas were closed as police conducted a massive manhunt for the man suspected in the Wednesday murder of an eight-year-old boy and three adults.
A relative who could not reach the victims by phone stumbled upon their bodies at a trailer house in Decatur Township on Wednesday evening. The suspect, 23-year-old Arron Lawson, attacked the man with a knife and stabbed him several times.
The man fled to a nearby home and called the sheriff. Police arrived on the scene at 7:20 p.m. and discovered the bodies of the three adults, but could not find 8-year-old Devin Holston.
Police declared Devin missing and launched an hours-long overnight search, only to find his body in the same home as the adult victims the next morning.
“His body was in a place that was hidden,” Lawrence County Sheriff Jeffery Lawless told Ironton Tribune. “So that is what made it difficult for our investigators to discover it at that time.”
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After a massive manhunt was launched, deputies spotted Lawson in a blue Chevrolet truck half past midnight on Thursday 15 miles from the murder scene. Lawson drove off but the chase ended after he crashed the car into a ditch and ran into the woods in Ohio’s southern tip.
“That is a vast, wide open area. It is a strip mine area, a wooded area,” Lawless said. “There are caverns and caves everywhere, so it is difficult to search.”
Schools in Rock Hill, Dawson-Bryant, and Symmes Valley areas were closed and afterschool activities and games canceled as authorities from several towns and villages employed helicopters, drones and bloodhounds to attempt and track down the suspected killer.
Lawless said that the suspect has been charged with three counts of murder and one count of aggravated murder.
“Further charges could be coming,” Lawless told Ironton Tribune’s Mark Shaffer. “What we have here is a horrible, horrible tragedy. We have many families who are suffering.”
Lawson did not have any prior convictions and families who knew him and the victims were dumbfounded by the news. Some of the victims were related. Lawson frequented the home.
“He did spend a lot of time there,” Lawless said. “It seemed like everyone got along.”
The murders occurred in a house trailer at 15497 State Route 93. Lawson lived a quarter-mile down the road from the home at 15868 State Route 93.
Just past noon on Friday, police received a call from a local resident who saw Lawson walking down a road. Officers arrested him without an incident, WSAZ reported.
Sheriff Lawless says the suspect was “ready and willing to give up. He was plum worn out from being out in the elements.”
Police believe they have recovered the gun used to commit the murders.
Police identified the three adults victims as Donald McGuire, 50, Tammie McGuire, 43, Staci Jackson, 25. The adults and the child were shot to death.
The adult who was stabbed was taken by helicopter to an area hospital. He is in stable condition.
The bodies of the victims were taken to Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for autopsies.
According to ABC News, Wednesday’s killings were reminiscent of the 2016 murders of 8 people from the Rhoden family just 40 miles southeast.