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3 adults shot dead, 1 stabbed; missing-child alert canceled

By The Associated Press
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities investigating three fatal shootings and a stabbing at a pair of southern Ohio residences canceled a missing-child alert for an 8-year-old boy from one of the homes but continued searching Thursday for a man they called a "person of interest."

The Lawrence County sheriff's office and the state attorney general's office wouldn't immediately confirm whether 8-year-old Devin Holston was found safe.

Deputies found the bodies of three adults in a house trailer in an unincorporated area of Lawrence County on Wednesday evening, and a fourth adult was found stabbed in the head and neck about a quarter mile (0.4 kilometers) away in another residence, the sheriff's office said. The wounded person was flown to a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.

The boy, Devin, lives at the second residence, the sheriff's office said. Lawrence County Sheriff Jeffery Lawless told the Ironton Tribune that investigators didn't immediately know whether the boy was at the home during the attack.

Lawless told the newspaper that all those involved were "related in some way."

Around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, deputies spotted the "person of interest," 23-year-old Aaron Lawson, in a blue truck in Ironton, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of where the victims were found, the sheriff said. Deputies briefly chased Lawson before he crashed his vehicle into a ditch and ran into the woods, the sheriff said.

Authorities haven't publicly specified why Lawson is a person of interest.

None of the dead or injured has been identified. The sheriff's office said releasing further information would compromise the investigation.

Agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, including crime-scene and cyberunit investigators, are assisting Lawrence County with the case, said Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman for BCI and the state attorney general's office.

Lawless said schools in the Rock Hill district were closed Thursday because of the attacks.

The initial report about the slayings — violence against multiple people found at trailers belonging to related residents — recalled details from a still-unsolved homicide case that rattled rural southern Ohio last year. But investigators have no indication of a connection between the cases, Del Greco said.

The deaths on Wednesday occurred roughly 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of the Piketon area, where eight people from the Rhoden family were found shot to death in four homes in April 2016.

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Associated Press writer Mark Gillispie in Cleveland contributed to this report.

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Find Kantele Franko on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/kantele10 and her work at http://bit.ly/2qEaebN .

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