Rushville Republican

News

May 14, 2013

Meth found at Indiana home where 4 slain

COLUMBUS — Four people found dead in a small community in southern Indiana were all shot in the head, and methamphetamine found at the same house indicates the killings were drug-related, authorities said Tuesday.

No arrests have been made since the bodies were found Saturday night in Waynesville, a small community about five miles south of Columbus, Bartholomew County Sheriff Mark Gorbett told reporters.

One of the four, homeowner 53-year-old Katheryn Burton, had also been stabbed, County Coroner Larry Fisher said at the same news conference. The exact causes of death have yet to be announced.

"This was a very violent and brutal attack," Fisher said.

Investigators found several shell casings and a knife that was used in the attack, Gorbett said. A rifle was recovered from the scene but detectives don't yet know whether it was used in the shootings, he said.

Gorbett said investigators believe the deaths are drug-related, although he didn't provide details about the quantity of methamphetamine found at the house nor did he say how those killed might have been involved with illegal drugs.

Detectives have interviewed two people of interest, Gorbett said, adding that Burton's 27-year-old son, who discovered the bodies Saturday night, wasn't considered a suspect.

"We are still holding the crime scene and will do so until we are confident that we have recovered every bit of evidence from that location," Gorbett said.

Indiana State Police are assisting in the investigation. State police Sgt. Noel Houze referred questions on the investigation to the sheriff's department. Gorbett declined to take questions at the end of Tuesday's brief news conference.

The others killed were Burton's boyfriend, 39-year-old Thomas Smith, and two 41-year-old Columbus men, Aaron Cross and Shawn Burton, who were friends of the couple.

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