INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana woman killed along with her 4-year-old son after a dispute over a family trust worth millions texted her husband shortly before she was slain to alert him that her uncle was inside their home, authorities said Thursday.
After Katherine Giehll's husband, Raymond Giehll III, tried unsuccessfully to reach her by phone, he accessed their in-home cameras on his cellphone and saw her uncle, Lucius Oliver Hamilton III, was inside.
He immediately returned home to their upscale suburban Indianapolis neighborhood, only to find his 31-year-old wife and their young son, Raymond Peter Giehll IV, fatally shot, the Boone County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
Hamilton fatally shot himself hours later inside a downtown Indianapolis hotel room.
Raymond Giehll III said in a statement released Thursday by police that "Katie and Raymond IV were my entire family and the hole their loss leaves is unexplainable."
Sheriff Mike Nielsen said Wednesday that investigators believed a dispute over a family trust worth millions led to the attack. A day later, they still were trying to make sense of the trust and the killings.
Investigators discovered a "substantial family trust that the victims were beneficiaries of, as well as, Hamilton," the sheriff's office said in its statement, adding that the trust is complex and is still being investigated.
That statement also said home security cameras in the Giehlls' home showed an SUV belonging to the 61-year-old Hamilton leaving their home near Zionsville, just northwest of Indianapolis.
After identifying Hamilton as the "prime suspect" in the killings, police checked Wabash College, where Hamilton worked as the private all-male liberal arts school's senior major gifts officer. That school in nearby Crawfordsville was placed on a lockdown until police determined Hamilton had left the school in a work van.
Police later tracked Hamilton to a Hilton hotel he'd checked into in downtown Indianapolis near the Indiana Statehouse. State Police said officers knocked on Hamilton's fourth-floor room and two shots were fired from inside.
The Marion County Coroner's office said Thursday that Hamilton died from a single gunshot wound to the head and his death was a suicide.
Police said Katherine Giehll had three gunshot wounds and her son had one.
A longtime friend of Hamilton's said Thursday he and other friends and associates can't fathom that the man he described as friendly but somewhat introverted committed the killings.
Tom Santelli said he met Hamilton after he moved to Zionsville in 2001 and joined a fox-hunting club Hamilton's late father co-founded some 80 years ago.
Santelli said Hamilton was an animal lover who worried about the welfare of the hounds in the Traders Point Hunt Club's hunts, in which a fox's scent is used, instead of a live fox, to excite the dogs for the chase as club members follow on horseback.
"Anyone who is that conscious about animals and the well-being of everyone involved, for him to go off the deep-end and commit this heinous crime, it's just so out of character," Santelli said. "We're all dumbfounded."
He said Hamilton was well-to-do and had never mentioned any family friction over money.
Court records show Hamilton worked alongside his brother, Katherine Giehll's father, nearly a decade ago to distribute their father's estate. Hamilton and Russell W. Hamilton were appointed co-representatives of the estate in June 2007, two months after Lucius O. Hamilton II's death, Hamilton County court records show.
A court document filed in December 2007 indicated the brothers had finished distributing the estate's assets "to the persons entitled" and no claims remained against that estate.
Russell Hamilton died in April 2012.