(Reuters) - An Ohio man has been arrested in connection with the shooting deaths of four people in a rural area of the state this week after an extensive manhunt, the local sheriff said on Friday.
Aaron Lawson, 23, of Pedro, a small community in southern Ohio, faces three counts of murder and one count of aggravated murder, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless told reporters.
Lawson is charged with the deaths of three adults and an 8-year-old boy, all of whom were found shot to death in a Pedro trailer.
The adults’ identities were not immediately provided by officials, but media reports named them as 28-year-old Staci Jackson, 43-year-old Tammie McGuire and 50-year-old Donald McGuire. The 8-year-old boy was identified by authorities as Devin Holston.
“I can’t believe they’re gone ... You don’t go and kill family,” Brandon McGuire, who said he was the son of Tammie McGuire, tearfully told reporters after the sheriff’s news conference.
Police responded on Wednesday to the trailer after a report of a man being attacked there with a knife by someone believed to be Lawson, sheriff’s officials said.
They found three adults shot to death inside but did not search the premises thoroughly because they did not want to disturb the scene, Lawless, the sheriff, said previously.
When they returned with search warrants and combed through the trailer, investigators found the boy’s body on Thursday.
The sheriff’s office had earlier issued a missing child alert for the boy, which was cancelled after his body was found.
Family members of the victims told reporters that Lawson was related to Tammie McGuire. He was known to visit the mobile home where the victims were found and lived nearby, the sheriff said.
The search for Lawson included local, tri-state and federal agencies, more than 100 officers, and the use of aircraft, Lawless said.
A resident who saw Lawson walking near Pedro notified sheriff’s officials and the tip led to his capture, Lawless told reporters. He was arrested without incident and is being held in the county jail, Lawless said.
“It makes you feel good that our efforts, our very strong efforts, were successful. I know that the public were a little afraid and rightly so,” Lawless said.
Additional charges could be brought against Lawson, the sheriff said. Officials still have no motive and are waiting for autopsy and coroner’s reports and an investigation to determine the time of death of each person, he said.
Editing by Patrick Enright and Bernadette Baum