LINCOLN, Ill. – A "violent struggle" that took place during the slayings of five members of a central Illinois family may have left the suspect or suspects injured, authorities said Saturday as they sought the public's help.
"There is a possibility that the person or persons responsible may be injured themselves," Logan County Sheriff Steven Nichols said in a statement Saturday. "I am asking the public to look at everyone they know ... or may encounter that have recent injuries especially to their arms, head and upper body."
Police have declined to say whether they are seeking one or more suspects in the deaths authorities have attributed to "blunt force trauma." Authorities have not said whether the victims were beaten or weapons were recovered.
Police found the bodies of 46-year-old Raymond "Rick" Gee, 39-year-old Ruth Gee and three of their children -- Justina Constant, 16, Dillen Constant, 14, and Austin Gee, 11 -- Monday in the family's home in Beason, a community of a few hundred people about 140 miles southwest of Chicago. The Gees' youngest daughter, a 3-year-old girl who survived the attack, remains hospitalized.
The chance that a struggle left the killer or killers wounded fits with what a homicide expert told The Associated Press.
Tim Williams, a private investigator with more than 25 years' experience as a Los Angeles police homicide detective, said it's unlikely one person could have killed five people with blunt force, especially because the children are older. The victims would have fought, he said.
"They may have trace elements on themselves, under fingernails, there might have been scratching," Williams said. "Something like this might be rife with evidence."
Nichols said injuries to a suspect or suspects could include cuts, bruises or loss of hair.
"If medical attention to these injuries was needed, it is possible that the suspect(s) may not have sought medical attention," Nichols said.
Police urged the public to call the department's telephone tip line at (217) 732-3000.
Authorities have revealed few details on the slayings, and Nichols did not offer more Saturday. Police have said they have followed up on about 250 tips from people throughout central Illinois and around the country.
Earlier this week, investigators took more than 100 items from the home for analysis as evidence by state crime investigators.