By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
Double Springs —
Police believe the four dead bodies found in a car in rural Double Springs were killed by one another in either a suicide pact or murder-suicide at some point Wednesday.
Three males and one female body, all Caucasians ranging from mid-20s to early 50s in age, were discovered in a car on a county road in northern Alabama, and investigators spent Thursday trying to piece together details of the bizarre case.
At least two of the victims were reportedly facing child pornography and molestation charges in their native Tennessee; and at least one was scheduled to be in court this week, according to Winston County Sheriff Rick Harris.
Authorities say the victims all hail from Tennessee, and all but one were related. The names of the deceased have not been released, pending family notifications.
Harris said gunshot wounds appear to be the cause of death for every victim, noting all the shots seem to have come from inside the vehicle. Authorities say a suicide pact, or murder-suicide, seem to be the most likely scenarios based on the evidence.
“They all died of gunshot wounds, and at this point we’ve ruled out any type of hostile drug takeover, a drug deal gone bad, or anything like that,” Harris said. “We’re exploring the possibility of some self-inflicted suicide, or murder-assisted suicide between the four. Forensics is doing a trajectory investigation now.”
Harris said his team, along with investigators from the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, have no reason to believe a killer is still at large in the area.
“Whatever started in Tennessee seems to have ended in Winston County,” he said. “We absolutely do not believe there is anyone dangerous still running around in our county.”
A passer-by noticed the vehicle off County Road 327 on her way to work Wednesday morning and called authorities when she saw it in the same place on her way home.
Dozens of law enforcement officers were at the scene just south of the Double Springs area of Black Pond early Thursday morning.
Harris said investigators have yet to find any tangible reason to explain how the four Tennessee residents ended up in Winston County — though he believes they may have been staying in some area hotels around Alabama the past week.
More details could come Monday, Harris said, pending some additional forensic work.
* The Associated Press contributed to this report.
* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.