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Family members suspect drugs in 5 deaths

Some of the five people found dead at two homes in rural southeast Indiana had been shot, and autopsies to confirm the cause of death are planned for Monday, state police said.
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.
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.Aj Mast / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A driver in rural Indiana made a startling discovery, finding a young girl walking in the road, alone.

But what police found at the 4-year-old's home was even more disturbing: four people dead, at least some of them shot. A fifth person was dead on a nearby property.

Indiana State Police said autopsies were done Monday on four of the five victims, and they didn't plan to release the IDs until after the fifth autopsy is completed on Tuesday.

With few details released from authorities, residents were left speculating about what brought violence to their area about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis — and whether the danger had passed.

"People who haven't locked their doors in years, they're definitely locking up tight now," said Ryan Renfro, who lives nearby. "I actually took off work today because I'm here with my elderly grandparents and I didn't want to leave them here alone until they caught who they are looking for."

Sgt. Jerry Goodin, a spokesman for the Indiana State Police, did not say whether the shooter or shooters were believed to be among the deceased. He did say Monday that no manhunt was being conducted.

Although police weren't releasing the names, people in this area, where many are related by blood or through marriage, talked about their relatives who had been killed. Those included four members of one family — a man, his estranged wife and their two adult children — as well as a neighbor who had gone to visit a member of the household.

Jewel Compston said her son, Henry Smith, 43, left the house they share Sunday morning to go to the home where the four bodies were found.

"He never made it back," she said, tearing up.

Compston said police told her early Monday that Smith had been shot to death.

Smith's aunt, Evelyn Renfro, lives nearby and said she heard shots around noon Sunday.

"Nobody went out because they were loading the cattle here and they didn't pay no attention to that," Renfro said.

Police wouldn't comment on motive, but neighbors said they had complained about drug activity in the area, and the sister of one victim said the family had been involved with drugs.

Franklin County Sheriff Ken Murphy said his deputies have been to the address before but did not say whether drugs were involved.

Teresa Richardson said the home where the bodies were found belonged to her sister's estranged husband, who lived there with the couple's daughter and son. She said her sister was visiting them Sunday.

She said police called her Monday afternoon and confirmed the four dead inside the home were her sister, Angie Napier, her sister's estranged husband, Roy Napier, daughter Melissa Napier and son Jacob Napier.

Teresa Richardson called the deaths a "senseless massacre" and said she blamed it on drugs. She said her sister and Roy Napier would have arguments that sometimes got physical, but she didn't think any of the family members would have turned on the others.

Debra Richardson, who can see the home from the greenhouse at her Pretty Petals florist shop next to her house, said she has complained frequently to police about what she believed to be drug dealers in the area, including at the mobile home.

"I have a greenhouse business, and they had more traffic than I do. I'm in here working in the greenhouse and I see people pulling in all the time. You don't have that many people visit you."


Associated Press writer Tom Coyne in South Bend contributed to this report.