Winston County Sheriff: Quadruple deaths may be murder/suicide

The Winston County Sheriff says investigators are looking into the possibility that four people who were found dead on Wednesday night near Double Springs were part of a murder/suicide.

Sheriff Rick Harris says four bodies were found inside a vehicle off of County Road 327. He said Thursday morning that the bodies have all been identified and their names will be released as soon as family members are notified.

Harris says the four victims were three men and one woman, all from Tennessee. Their ages range from 25 to 50-something and the victims knew each other. Authorities in Tennessee are contacting family members of the victims to get more information and try to determine a motive.

The sheriff described the road where the car was located as very narrow and difficult to navigate. The scene is located in the Black Pond area, just south of Double Springs. The road is not well-traveled, but hunters have been known to park there.

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.

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.

Sheriff Harris is asking the community to stay calm and says he believes this is an isolated incident. He said he is not sure how the four victims ended up in Winston County or why.

Harris says previous reports that the victims had been brutally beaten before their demise are untrue and "totally false."

Several calls about safety have been received by the Sheriff's Office from residents and those with lake houses in Winston County. Sheriff Harris says this is an isolated event and it ended at the incident location.

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is assisting with this case.

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