Police: Person of interest held in 5 Ind. deaths

AP News
Posted: Sep 28, 2011 6:48 PM
Police: Person of interest held in 5 Ind. deaths

A career criminal was being questioned Wednesday and is considered a person of interest in the deaths of five people found shot in a rural Indiana county, police said.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin said the 46-year-old man was arrested Tuesday following a five-month investigation into an attempted robbery at a pharmacy in Osgood, about 25 miles southwest of where the killings occurred.

Goodin said police interviewing the man obtained information that linked him to the five people found dead Sunday afternoon in Franklin County. That information led to a search of the man's home in Glenwood, Goodin said.

"We think he has some knowledge or part of the crime that occurred," he said.

Goodin said the suspect was being held on an attempted robbery charge in the pharmacy holdup but had not been charged in the deaths. He said the investigation continued.

Franklin County Sheriff Ken Murphy said he was confident at least one person involved in the deaths was in custody and sought to reassure residents who have been jittery since the slayings.

"This was not a random act of violence. This is still a safe community," he said.

Murphy said the man who was arrested has an "extensive" criminal record that includes armed robbery, forgery and counterfeiting.

The Indiana Department of Correction said the man had been released from state prison and turned over to Franklin County authorities on July 15, 2010, but it was not immediately clear whether he had been jailed since that time.

The announcement of a suspect in the slayings came during an intense investigation sparked by the discovery of the bodies of Roy Napier, 50, his estranged wife, Angela Napier, 47, and their children, Melissa Napier, 23, and Jacob Napier, 18, at a mobile home near Laurel, about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

A family friend identified as Henry Smith, 43, was found dead on a nearby property.

Autopsies showed the Napiers all had been shot in the head and that Smith had a gunshot wound to the chest. Smith and Angelia Napier also showed signs of blunt force trauma to the head.

Goodin said a 4-year-old girl escaped the home unharmed and was found by passers-by who alerted police.

Teresa Richardson, the sister of Angela Napier, said residents have been on edge since the killings.

"We're all worried. We're all staying up. We're not sleeping," she said.

Police haven't commented on a motive for the killings, but Richardson said she believes her sister, who was visiting the house, died trying to protect her family.

"I know my sister fought for her life, otherwise why would she have blunt force trauma to the head? I know that. She fought trying to save her granddaughter and her children," Richardson said.

As she prepares to bury her family, Richardson has one message for police about the killer or killers: "I want them caught."