Victims in Waynesville murders identified
Police in Bartholomew County are investigating a quadruple homicide in Waynesville, a small, unincorporated community about seven miles south of Columbus.
Four people were found dead in single-story home just after 10:30 Saturday night. The victims have been identified as 53-year-old Katheryn Burton, 39-year-old Thomas Smith, 41-year-old Aaron Cross and 41-year-old Shawn Burton.
Bartholomew County Sheriff Mark Gorbett says 27-year-old Daniel Burton, who lived at the home with his mother, discovered the bodies when returned home from work.
Authorities found the bodies of the three male victims in the living room and Katherine Burton in a bedroom, all apparently dead from gunshot wounds.
As of 3 p.m., Gorbett said they had not identified any suspects, but were actively pursuing any and all leads.
Early Sunday morning, deputies closed off several blocks around the single-story house as they took pictures and searched for evidence. They were assisted by Indiana State Police and a canine unit.
Throughout the morning, several people arrived at the crime scene. Some held each other tightly and sobbed. Others stood watch as the investigation unfolded.
Brandon Pickett of Columbus was one of those who stood near the police tape. Pickett said he used to work with Daniel Burton.
"This is bad. Really bad," Pickett said. "When I heard about this, I kept thinking, 'This poor kid, his family, everyone is gone'."
Samantha Wolfe also felt the need to see the crime scene in person. She was friends with Shawn Burton.
"He was just a real friendly person. He got along with everyone," she said. "It's shocking that someone would kill him."
Justin Ackeret who helps at the local church, said, "It's the last thing in the world you'd expect. This is a very tight community. We help one another. Our kids come out and play together."
Ackeret said the church had planned a special Mother's Day service, but instead offered to let police use the church as a command post.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families involved in this tragic event," he said. "We want them to know we're praying for them."
And also praying that person or people responsible are caught and brought to justice.
Ackeret did say state police went door to door, asking neighbors if they saw or heard anything. But he also said he wasn't told "to lock the doors" or take any special precautions.