Aj Mast  /  AP
A police officer in an unmarked car guards the entrance to the site where five people were found dead in rural Franklin County near the town of Laurel, Ind., on Monday.
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updated 9/28/2011 5:04:37 PM ET 2011-09-28T21:04:37

A career criminal was being questioned Wednesday and is considered a person of interest in the deaths of five people found shot in a rural Indiana county, police said.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin said the 46-year-old man was arrested Tuesday following a five-month investigation into an attempted robbery at a pharmacy in Osgood, Ind., about 25 miles southwest of where the killings occurred.

Goodin said police interviewing the man obtained information that linked him to the five people found dead Sunday afternoon in Franklin County. That information led to a search of the man's home in Glenwood, Ind., Goodin said.

"We think he has some knowledge or part of the crime that occurred," he said.

Story: Family members suspect drugs in 5 deaths

Goodin said the suspect was being held on an attempted robbery charge in the pharmacy holdup but had not been charged in the deaths. He said the investigation continued.

Franklin County Sheriff Ken Murphy said he was confident at least one person involved in the slayings was in custody and sought to reassure residents who have been jittery since the slayings.

"This was not a random act of violence. This is still a safe community," he said.

Murphy said the man who was arrested has an "extensive" criminal record that includes armed robbery, forgery and counterfeiting.

The Indiana Department of Correction said the man had been released from state prison and turned over to Franklin County authorities on July 15, 2010, but it was not immediately clear whether he had been jailed since that time.

The announcement of a suspect in the slayings came during an intense investigation sparked by the discovery of the bodies of Roy Napier, 50, his estranged wife, Angela Napier, 47, and their children, Melissa Napier, 23, and Jacob Napier, 18, at a mobile home near Laurel, about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

A family friend identified as Henry Smith, 43, was found dead on a nearby property.

Autopsies showed the Napiers all had been shot in the head and that Smith had a gunshot wound to the chest. Smith and Angelia Napier also showed signs of blunt force trauma to the head.

Goodin said a 4-year-old girl escaped the home unharmed and was found by passers-by who alerted police.

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Information from: WISH-TV, http://www.wishtv.com/

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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