Georgia man accused of murdering five taken into custody, sheriff says

A Georgia man accused of murdering five people, including his wife and other family members, was taken into custody Monday night in Mississippi, authorities said.

Thomas Jesse Lee, 26, of Troup County, Ga., was the subject of a nationwide manhunt after the five bodies were discovered in their suburban home in LaGrange, Ga. on Saturday. He was taken into custody in Tupelo, Miss., Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff announced Monday night.

"We don't have any idea what the motive is at this point."

— Troup County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Stewart Smith

Troup County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Stewart Smith told that Lee traveled to a church in Alcorn County in northeast Mississippi, where he sought assistance because he was out of money. The church, not knowing who he was, purchased a bus ticket for him to go to Alabama, near where his family lives, Smith said.

Soon after, a pastor heard about the manhunt for Lee from media reports, and contacted authorities, who took him into custody at a bus station in Tupelo.

Authorities were still searching for his vehicle, an olive Mazda Tribute, on Monday night, Smith said. It was unclear whether Lee had an attorney.

He faces five counts of murder when he's extradited to Troup County, Smith said, adding that authorities were anxious to speak with him to determine why he allegedly killed his family members.

"We don't have any idea what the motive is at this point," he said.

Police learned of the mass killings when an employer of one of the victims tipped off authorities when one of them didn't show up for work for several days. Authorities said the victims were Lee's wife, her daughter, her parents and an 18-year-old family friend who was staying at the residence.

Four of the five victims suffered from gunshot wounds, but it was not immediately clear how the fifth died. Smith told Monday night that authorities were awaiting autopsy results.

Smith said authorities believe a handgun, recently purchased by Lee, was used to carry out the killings. No other suspects are being sought, he added.

Woodruff told The Associated Press that Lee lived at the home with the rest of the family, and no prior domestic problems had been reported there. Woodruff added he was not aware of Lee having a prior criminal record.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.