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Police: Ill. dad not a suspect in 4 SUV deaths

Police questioned a man whose wife and three children were found shot to death in their sport utility vehicle but said he was not under arrest and not a suspect.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Police questioned a man whose wife and three children were found shot to death in their sport utility vehicle but said he was not under arrest and not a suspect.

Christopher Vaughn, 32, talked to investigators for several hours after being treated at a hospital Thursday for a gunshot wound to the thigh.

Vaughn left the Illinois State Police office early Friday. He was never in custody and left “of his own free will,” State Police Master Sgt. Cheryl Lisy said. She said she had no information about the investigators’ interviews with him.

A passer-by called police at about 5:25 a.m. Thursday after discovering the bodies of Vaughn’s wife, Kimberly, 34, and their children — Abigayle, 12, Cassandra, 11, and Blake, 8 — in the family’s SUV, authorities said.

The vehicle was parked on a service road near Interstate 55 in Channahon, about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.

The mother was shot once and each child was shot multiple times, Coroner Patrick O’Neil said.

'Social trip'
Christopher Vaughn was with the caller when police arrived, State Police Capt. Carl Dobrich said.

The family left its Oswego home before dawn Thursday on a “social trip,” Dobrich said, adding that he didn’t know their destination.

Dobrich said police believe nobody else was involved in the shootings. A handgun was found at the scene, he 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.

Kimberly Vaughn’s sister, Nikki Isemann, told the Chicago Tribune her sister was looking forward to a romantic weekend getaway with her husband.

“Kim was very excited about it, getting last-minute things packed,” Isemann said. “Her husband, he adored her. He would do everything for her.”

‘We really liked the small-town atmosphere’
Christopher Vaughn’s mother, Gail Vaughn, told the Chicago Sun Times her son didn’t appear to have any marital problems.

A neighbor said he had never seen any signs of discord at the Vaughn house.

“They were very nice people, both the wife and husband ... they looked like a loving couple,” Mohammad Ansar said. “They were like a perfect family if you saw them.”

Ansar said Kimberly Vaughn was a homemaker who earned a degree online last year. Another neighbor, Tony Bridges, told the Tribune it was a criminal justice degree. Christopher Vaughn works as a computer forensic adviser, his mother said.

An article last month about the Vaughns’ home in the real estate section of the Sun-Times featured an idyllic photo of a relaxed Christopher and Kimberly Vaughn sitting at a dining table — their three children standing behind them smiling.

“We really liked the small-town atmosphere of Oswego,” Kimberly Vaughn told the Sun-Times. “We also checked on the schools our three children would be attending and found them to be highly rated.”

The Vaughn family moved from Washington state to the Chicago area about a year ago, bringing their two dogs with them, according to the article. They lived briefly in an Aurora apartment before relocating to the 3,373-square-foot, 4-bedroom home in an Oswego development where home prices start in the low $300,000s, the article said.