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Wandering girl spurred Indiana police to find bodies

Wandering girl spurred Indiana police to find bodies

September 28th, 2011 in News

Teresa Richardson talks with a state trooper at the entrance to the home of her former brother-in-law, Roy Napier, where four people were found dead Monday near Laurel, Ind.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - An Indiana couple who called 911 after they found a 4-year-old girl walking along a country road say they realized at once something wasn't right about the situation.

When police checked at the child's home Sunday, they found four people dead. Some of them had been shot. Another body was found at a nearby property. Police were awaiting autopsy results Tuesday to learn more about how the people died.

John Kesler of rural Laurel said he and his wife, Jane, were driving home from lunch in nearby Metamora on Sunday afternoon when they saw the girl walking on the road, about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

The child, barefoot and wearing just a pair of cotton trousers, waved "Hello" as they passed. Kesler turned around and went back to check on her.

"If you'd have seen the kid, you'd have known right off something ain't right," he said Tuesday.

The girl held up four fingers when asked her age. Her hair was tied in a ponytail. She kept her thumb in her mouth and stared into space as tears ran down her face, Kesler said.

"She was just a pretty little thing...and she was just scared to death," said Kesler, a retired firefighter from Fort Wayne.

The couple stopped at a nearby house to see if the girl belonged there, but the residents said she wasn't theirs. Kesler told his wife to call 911.

"I said, "I've got a bad feeling on this one,'" he remembered.

It took sheriff's deputies from the county seat at Brookville about half an hour to get to the isolated neighborhood. Within another hour or so, dozens of officers had arrived at the scene.

Sgt. Jerry Goodin, a spokesman for the Indiana State Police, did not say whether the shooter or shooters were believed to be among the deceased. He did say Tuesday that no manhunt was being conducted. He said investigators were hoping autopsies performed Monday and Tuesday would yield clues on how the five were killed and who killed them.

"We don't know yet. We're hoping the autopsies will tell us that. Right now we don't have a manhunt because we don't have any suspects. We don't have anybody to hunt," Goodin said.

Police declined to release the victims' names, pending results of the autopsies. But people in the area, where many are related by blood or through marriage, talked about their relatives who had been killed. Those included four members of one family - a man, his estranged wife and their two adult children - as well as a neighbor who had gone to visit a member of the household.

Teresa Richardson said the home where the bodies were found belonged to her sister's estranged husband, who lived there with their adult daughter and son. She said her sister was visiting them Sunday.

She said police called her Monday afternoon and confirmed the four dead inside the home were her sister, Angie Napier, her sister's estranged husband, Roy Napier, daughter Melissa Napier and son Jacob Napier.