Authorities in Alabama say five people — including a woman who was about five months pregnant — were "brutally and viciously murdered" on Saturday by a suspect who later turned himself in to police in Mississippi.
The bodies were found at a home at the end of an isolated dirt road in Citronelle, Alabama, a town of 3,900 located about 30 miles northwest of Mobile. Authorities say they learned of the killings from a witness who escaped, and that a four-month-old infant was rescued from the scene.
According to local news site AL.com, authorities believe the killer used multiple weapons, including a gun and at least one other object. Investigators are reportedly trying to determine whether the victims were ambushed while asleep or if there was a struggle.
Captain Paul Burch of the Mobile County Sheriff's Office was quoted as saying police are still working to identify the bodies and to notify their next of kin.
"Given the way the scene looks, we're going to be here a couple of days," Burch said. "It's obviously a horrific scene."
A suspect identified as Derrick Dearman reportedly confessed after surrendering himself to police in Greene County, Mississippi, an area about 30 miles west of Citronelle. Burch reportedly said Dearman will likely be charged with "five or six counts of capital murder," a tally that would include a charge for the death of the unborn baby. Dearman had a criminal history with an outstanding warrant for burglary, according to local TV news outlet FOX10.
Burch said the incident apparently began sometime between midnight and 1am on Saturday, when somebody at the house where the murders occurred called 911 to report a trespasser. According to AL.com, Burch said the caller identified Dearman as the trespasser. He said local police responded to the call but couldn't find anyone at the scene.
Several hours later, a woman told police in Citronelle that she'd been kidnapped and escaped, at which point authorities went to investigate and discovered the bodies. Burch told AL.com that investigators believe the woman had some sort of relationship with Dearman, but the nature of connection between the two remains unclear.
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