Video: Police account of shooting

updated 6/15/2007 12:12:07 AM ET 2007-06-15T04:12:07

Three children and their mother were found shot to death Thursday in a sport utility vehicle parked just off a highway, and the father was talking to police, authorities said.

Christopher Vaughn, 32, who was found with a gunshot wound to the thigh, was treated at a hospital, authorities said. Vaughn was not a suspect and not under arrest Thursday afternoon.

“He’s being talked to,” said Illinois State Police Capt. Carl Dobrich said at a news conference. “He’s free to go, he has not asked to leave, he’s answering questions and he’s assisting us greatly.”

Police believe nobody else was involved in the shootings, Dobrich said. “This event we believe is concentrated to what we have at the scene ... we are just trying to get down to the truth as to what actually happened,” he said.

The family left its Oswego home before dawn Thursday on a “social trip,” Dobrich said, adding that he didn’t know their destination. Channahon is about 40 miles southwest of Chicago and about 20 miles from Oswego.

The bodies were discovered around 5:25 a.m. in a 2004 Ford Expedition, parked on service road near Interstate 55, after authorities received a 911 call from a passer-by, officials said. Vaughn stood with the caller until police arrived, Dobrich said.

A handgun was found at the scene, Dobrich said.

The Will County Coroner’s office identified the victims as Vaughn’s wife, Kimberly Ellen Vaughn, 34, and their children — Abigayle Elizabeth Vaughn, 12, Cassandra Ellen Vaughn, 11, and Blake Philip Vaughn, 8, all of Oswego.

The mother was shot once and the children all were shot more than once, Coroner Patrick O’Neil said.

A neighbor of the Vaughns’ spacious Oswego home, about 20 miles north of Channahon, said he had never seen any signs of discord.

“They were very nice people, both the wife and husband ... they looked like a loving couple,” Mohammad Ansar said.

The mother would walk the children to a school bus in the morning, he said, adding that the children “were very cute” and “very well behaved.” He said the father worked in computers and often was away on business.

He described Kimberly Vaughn as a homemaker who got a degree online last year; he didn’t know in what subject.

“This is devastating,” he said. “Everybody (in the neighborhood) is shocked.”

A police chaplain and counselors were available for police who responded to the scene of the shootings, Dobrich said. “To be blunt, I have kids at home that age,” he said. “And it affected people there immensely. It was a very sad scene.”

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