(Reuters) - Three women were found dead in their northern Vermont home on Saturday morning, state police said, in an attack that appeared to be linked to a Friday incident in which a woman who had recently lost custody of her child shot dead a state employee.
The three people whose remains were found in the town of Berlin, not far from the state capital Montpelier, were related to Jody Herring, who was arrested on Friday after allegedly fatally shooting an employee of state Department of Children and Families in an ambush-style attack outside the department offices in Barre, Vermont.
"This case is in the early states of investigation, to include exploring the connection with the homicide that occurred in Barre city yesterday afternoon," state and local police said in a joint statement.
At least two of the bodies found in the Berlin home had gunshot wounds and shell casings were found at the low-slung white building within sight of the state's Green Mountains.
Herring had recently lost custody of a 9-year-old child, the Burlington Free Press reported.
"Vermonters should know that there is no indication of a broader threat at this time to state employees or the general public," Governor Peter Shumlin said in a statement Saturday. "The tragedy that has gripped our state over the past 20 hours is immense."
The New England state, known for its maple syrup production and bucolic, leafy towns, normally sees little violent crime. Just 10 murders were reported in Vermont in 2013, the last year for which data was available, according to state records.
(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by James Dalgleish)