Police hunt for answers, urge citizens to 'be vigilant' after 5 found dead in rural Indiana

Five people were found dead Sunday in a rural part of eastern Indiana. Authorities are searching for answers.

Story highlights

  • Authorities are looking for those responsible, but don't know where, a sheriff says
  • Some of the victims -- 3 males, 2 females -- had gunshot wounds, a state trooper says
  • The bodies were found at two addresses in a rural part of eastern Indiana
  • Police checked on a wandering child, before eventually coming upon the bodies
Indiana authorities continued searching for answers and urging vigilance on Monday, one day after finding five bodies at two addresses in rural Franklin County.
"There are persons that we are looking for, (but) we don't have any idea where they are or what their mind-set is," Sheriff Ken Murphy told reporters Monday evening from Brookville.
Sgt. Jerry Goodin of the Indiana State Police noted there are not yet any "persons of interest" or suspects in the case. He added authorities couldn't rule out that the shooter or shooters are among the dead, describing the probe as "a very fluid situation."
"At this time, it's completely open," Goodin said of the investigation. "The person or persons responsible for this crime are the only ones who can tell us the motive. They're the only ones who know what happened."
Authorities first got a call Sunday afternoon from people concerned about a small child wandering near the street along Stipps Hill Road near Laurel, in eastern Indiana about halfway between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, Ohio. Not seeing any adults around, some citizens stayed with the child until police arrived.
After "gaining more information" by talking with the child and neighbors, a Franklin County sheriff's deputy requested help. That led to the discovery of a dead man at one address and four other fatalities -- two males and two females -- at an address across the street, Goodin said.
The state police sergeant said Monday night that "the child is safe," declining to elaborate.
He added that the state medical examiner in Indianapolis had conducted autopsies on four of the five bodies found. She had yet to positively identify all of them, said Goodin.
"Some of the victims at the scene looked as though they had sustained gunshot wounds," the state trooper said. But he cautioned this does not mean, necessarily, that all those found dead had been shot -- saying the medical examiner will likely make such a determination.
Both Murphy and Goodin stressed that law enforcement agents were "working around the clock" on the case. They urged people to call in tips or any information, with the sheriff predicting the public's help "is going to solve this case."
They also asked the public to be on alert, mindful those those responsible for the deaths could still be at large and dangerous.
"We should all be more vigilant than we normally are. This is a good reminder as to why," said Murphy. "We're just encouraging people to lock your doors, be vigilant, report any suspicious activity."