Police See Ohio Killings as Murder-Suicide

Police in Ohio say a young man about to graduate from high school took the lives of five family members and friends before ending his own. The bodies were found Sunday at a home in rural Ohio, 45 miles northwest of Columbus. The younger sister of 18-year-old Scott Moody was wounded, but survived the attack.

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Police in Ohio want to know why half a dozen people were killed in a rural community. The suspect is an 18-year-old man. Police believe he shot and killed his mother, his grandparents, two family friends and then himself. The only survivor was his sister, who's 15 years old. Aileen LeBlanc reports.

(Soundbite of traffic)

AILEEN LeBLANC reporting:

The large white two-story farmhouse sits here on a two-lane state road between Bellefontaine and the smaller town of De Graff. It's surrounded by flat farmland. The steep roof on this house used to be red but now it's faded. An old-fashioned milk can sits on the porch, a peaceful, idyllic scene. And Sunday was to be a day of celebration, a day of pomp and circumstance. Scott Moody was to graduate in De Graff on Sunday afternoon at Riverside High School along with 49 others, including one of his alleged victims.

On Sunday morning, 15-year-old Stacy Moody managed to reach her cell phone and she called her stepsister Nicole. Once inside the farmhouse, Nicole surveyed the grisly scene and called 911. The call came in at 10:47 AM.

(Soundbite from 911 call)

NICOLE: Oh, my God. Scott.

Dispatcher: What's going on, honey?

NICOLE: The son and his girlfriend have been shot, too.

Dispatcher: The son and the girlfriend?

NICOLE: Yes.

Dispatcher: OK.

NICOLE: Oh, my God, there's one in the living room, too.

LeBLANC: When police arrived, they found four dead in the house, all apparently shot to death. Scott Moody, the suspect, his mother and two young women, aged 14 and 19. Moody's sister Stacy, age 15, was shot through the neck and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Up the hill on the same farm owned by the same family, police said they found two more bodies. Moody's grandparents were in the kitchen. Jerry Smith usually stops by the farm on Friday evenings and checks out the crops and talks to the family, just as he did last Friday. Smith says that everyone there was excited about the upcoming graduation.

Mr. JERRY SMITH (Family Friend): There was just, you know, no more than usual--I mean, some, you know, friends getting together 'cause, you know, they graduate and they're just all excited and that kind of deal and, you know, they're getting out of--getting ready to graduate high school and, you know, starting to move on to the next step in life. You know, that's a big thing.

LeBLANC: Smith says that Scott Moody was looking for a job, that the farm is too small to support two families with the grandparents in one house and Scott, his sister and mother in the other.

There were two empty seats at commencement later that day. The high school students who graduated in De Graff were not told of the murders until after their ceremony.

Logan County Sheriff Michael Henry says they are piecing together the bits of evidence, but so far it points to a murder spree by Moody using a .22 caliber Marlin rifle which was found in the house with the four bodies.

Sheriff MICHAEL HENRY (Logan County): I don't care where this happens, it's a shock to everyone involved. You know, your heart goes out to the families and to the community because in a lot of these smaller communities, everyone knows everybody. And we have officers here who were working here, including myself, that knew some of these people, knew the family.

LeBLANC: Sheriff Michael Henry concedes that they may never know the reasons behind the murders in the two farmhouses or why two high school seniors never made it to their graduation on Sunday. For NPR News, I'm Aileen LeBlanc.

INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

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