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Victims in Ga. slayings were extended family

Eight people slain in a coastal Georgia mobile home over the weekend were members of an extended family, police and relatives say.
Mobile Home Slayings
Georgia police say Guy Heinze Jr. made a frantic 911 call after finding seven members of his extended family dead and two more clinging to life. AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Eight people slain in a coastal Georgia mobile home over the weekend were members of an extended family, police and relatives said Tuesday.

Police released the names and ages of the dead three days after the carnage was reported in a frantic 911 call by a relative who returned from a night out and found the bodies. No suspect has been named and autopsy results have not been released.

The dead included Russell D. Toler Sr., 44, and his four children: Chrissy Toler, 22; Russell D. Toler Jr., 20; Michael Toler, 19; and Michelle Toler, 15.

Guy Heinze Sr., 45, was also among the victims. His son, Guy Heinze Jr., told a 911 dispatcher he had found his father, his uncle and several cousins apparently beaten to death.

Also killed were Brenda Gail Falagan, 49, and Joseph L. West, 30. Falagan was identified by a funeral home as Toler Sr.'s sister. West's connection to the family was not known.

The sole survivor, whose name has not been released, remains in critical condition.

Kathy Clock, administrative assistant to Joseph Iannicelli, who owns the New Hope Plantation mobile home park, said not all nine of the victims lived in Toler Sr.'s small trailer, but all stayed there at times. They were planning to move because they needed more space.

'Took care of family'
People who knew Toler Sr., who went by Rusty, said he was loyal and loved his children.

"Rusty took care of family," Clock said. "If you needed a place to sleep, there was a place to sleep."

Toler Sr. worked part-time doing maintenance and odd jobs at the mobile home park and at a plant down the street that dries chemicals and other substances, said Iannicelli, who owns both.

"He had worked for the company for more than 20 years, and he will be sorely missed," Iannicelli said.

Mark Hill, who was once married to Toler Sr.'s ex-wife, was stepfather to the four younger Tolers and said they were well-mannered and well-behaved.

"Every one of them were good kids," Hill said.

An acquaintance of Toler Sr., Sam Davis, said he and his children used to stop in at the convenience store where Davis worked when the family lived in nearby Townsend.

"He was just a nice guy. Quiet, humble. He'd do anything for anybody in the world," Davis said. "He looked like he loved his kids. I'd see him stop by with them going on fishing trips."

Frantic 911 call
Police have released little information about the case that has rocked this port city between Savannah and Jacksonville, Fla., saying they don't want to jeopardize their investigation.

A recording of the 12-minute 911 call by Heinze Jr., 22, has provided some of the only details about the crime.

He screamed, "My whole family's dead!" and struggled to describe what he saw, at one point returning to the mobile home to find his cousin Michael, whom he said had Down syndrome, barely breathing.

"Michael's alive, tell them to hurry!" Heinze Jr. yelled in the background as a maintenance man at the mobile home park spoke with a dispatcher. "He's beat up! His face is smashed in!"

Several hours later, police arrested Heinze Jr. on charges of drug possession, tampering with evidence and lying to a police officer. Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said he isn't calling Heinze Jr. a suspect in the killings but isn't ruling him out. Heinze's attorney said he is distraught over the slayings and was not involved.

Michael Toler died Sunday at a Savannah hospital.

A graveside service was tentatively set for the Tolers, Heinze and Falagan on Saturday, according to the Howard-Jones-Nobles Funeral Home. Details of West's funeral were not immediately available.

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