Winston Co. Sheriff: 4 homicide victims were badly beaten before their deaths

Sheriff's deputies monitoring the road leading to the crime scene. Source: WBRC video
Sheriff's deputies monitoring the road leading to the crime scene. Source: WBRC video

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Winston County Sheriff says the 4 victims who were found dead in a vehicle near Double Springs were also beaten severely before their demise.

Sheriff Rick Harris says the four people were found inside a vehicle off of County Road 327. The cause of death is thought to have been from gunshot wounds, but Harris says the bodies were beaten so badly they were almost unidentifiable.

The sheriff says the road where they are located is very narrow and difficult to navigate. The scene is located in the Black Pond area, just south of Double Springs. Harris says a forensics team made it to the site between 10 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

"Right now we have more questions than answers," Harris said.

By 1 a.m. Thursday, there were "40 vehicles" on scene tied into law enforcement activity.

Harris says there is a lot of potential evidence around the vehicle and because of that, investigators set up a 98-foot perimeter.

Identification is not forthcoming because of the severity of the victims' injuries and the location of the vehicle.

The vehicle has an out-of-state tag though authorities have not said where the tags are registered. Harris says a passerby noticed the vehicle on her way to work Wednesday morning. When she saw the vehicle in the same place on her way home, she called authorities.

Investigators removed the vehicle on Thursday morning. A black tarp was wrapped around the vehicle and officers at the scene say the bodies were still inside. Investigators say they plan to scour the vehicle for fingerprints.

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is assisting with this case.

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