Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Police: Pregnant woman among 5 dead in southern Alabama home

Published:Sunday | August 21, 2016 | 8:35 AM

CITRONELLE, Ala. (AP) -- It may take investigators days to untangle a grisly murder scene at a southern Alabama home where five adults, including one pregnant female, were found murdered, authorities said Sunday.

Police said the victims were found Saturday afternoon inside the residence located in the city of Citronelle, about 30 miles northwest of Mobile. A 4-month-old infant also was found alive at the home.

Authorities were still working to identify the bodies and notify relatives, Capt. Paul Burch of the Mobile County Sheriff's Office told reporters early Sunday morning.

"Given the way the scene looks, we're going to be here a couple of days," Burch said. "It's obviously a horrific scene."

Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich told reporters near the scene that in her 20-year career as a prosecutor, she's never encountered a crime "where there were five people who were brutally and viciously murdered, and that's what we have here." "There are multiple weapons that have been used," she said.

Burch told reporters at the scene that "there was some type of instrument other than a firearm used on them."

Suspect Derrick Dearman of Leakesville, Miss., was taken into custody after he walked into the Greene County Sheriff's Office Saturday afternoon and confessed to the crimes, Burch told Al.com.

Burch said he expects Dearman to face five or six counts of capital murder. One of the victims was a woman who was about five months pregnant.

On its official Twitter account, the sheriff's office said Sunday that detectives are "attempting to establish the relationship between Dearman and the victims." Burch said that it wasn't immediately clear whether the victims had been attacked while sleeping or had engaged in a prolonged struggle.

"We're not there yet," Rich said, when asked about details of the deaths. "We have a horrible scene here."

Burch said it appeared events began unfolding in the early hours of Saturday morning. Somewhere between midnight and 1 a.m., residents of the house had called 911 to report a trespasser. Burch said it was his understanding that during the call Dearman had been identified as the trespasser.

Burch said he understood that Citronelle police responded to the call, but found no one. Burch said it appeared the murders had taken place later Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon, a woman reported to Citronelle police that she'd been kidnapped and escaped. Information from her account led Citronelle police to the house on Jim Platt Road.

Burch said investigators believed the woman who contacted police had an undetermined relationship with Dearman.

An investigation is ongoing.