Published October 23, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. – A man sought for questioning in four homicides in Tennessee was found dead over the state line in Alabama, the apparent victim of a homicide himself, while one of his acquaintances was found dead in a separate location, authorities said Tuesday.
On Monday, authorities found three women and an 18-month-old boy slain at two different homes in Lincoln County, Tennessee, about 100 miles south of Nashville. Police have not revealed how they died. A 3-year-old-boy and an infant survived the slayings, officials said.
On Tuesday, Alabama authorities found the body of a man just across the state line from Tennessee. The man was Warren Vincent Crutcher, said Madison County, Alabama, Coroner Craig Whisenant. Crutcher was the 3-year-old's father, added Lincoln County, Alabama, Sheriff Murray Blackwelder.
Police in Huntsville, Alabama, meanwhile, found the corpse of Jeffrey Pope, who was fatally shot, and whom local news media identified as an acquaintance of Crutcher. Authorities did not confirm the connection between the two men, but they are investigating whether Pope's death could be linked to the other five, Whisenant said. The coroner would not say how Crutcher died, but said it didn't appear to be a suicide. His body was found in the woods by utility crews, Huntsville television station WAFF reported.
Police had sought Crutcher for questioning in the Tennessee slayings, which were discovered after the 3-year-old boy called relatives saying he couldn't wake up anyone at his house, his godmother, Constance Winston, told WAFF.
Family members arriving at the house outside Fayetteveille on Monday found all the doors and windows locked, but were able to coach the child into opening a garage door. When they reached inside to pull him out, they saw blood and called police.
When authorities got there, they found 22-year-old Chabreya Campbell, and her 18-month-old son Rico Ragland dead. The body of 21-year-old Amber McCaulley of Huntsville, Ala., was also inside the home.
Hours later, the body of 21-year-old Jessica Brown was found in her home in Fayetteville. Her 2-month-old child was found unharmed.
"I cannot imagine. I cannot imagine. ... There's no reason for anyone to have done something like this," Winston said.
The Tennessee Department of Children's Services had no prior involvement with Campbell, Crutcher or the children, spokeswoman Molly Sudderth said Tuesday. She said the slayings would lead DCS to open a case and, if needed, take the 3-year-old into state custody until permanent arrangements could be made for him.