Arkansas sheriff: 5 found slain died in murder-suicide

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ATKINS, Ark. (AP) — Five female family members found dead Christmas Day in a northwest Arkansas home died in a murder-suicide, law enforcement said Monday.

Evidence collected at the scene in Atkins, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Little Rock, led to the determination that the two women and three girls died by murder-suicide, Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones said in a statement. He did not provide further details, including who killed the other four people or a motive.

The Arkansas State Crime Lab and medical examiner confirmed the results of the investigation, Jones said.

Jones identified the dead as Danielle Collins, 7; Levenah Countryman, 10; Abigail Heflin, 12; Jaquita Chase, 31; and Patricia Patrick, 61.

“While all loss of life is heartbreaking, this situation has been particularly tragic” Jones said. “Anytime children are senselessly taken from those who love them, the pain is beyond compare. When you add to that the loss of the adults involved, the pain is unfathomable.”

Melissa Brown said all five of the dead were related and that she is a relative of theirs. She said her family “received the call no family wants to receive” on Christmas night.

Brown said in a video share don social media that people who want to help the family cover funeral costs can donate through a GoFundMe account or give directly to Russellville Family Funeral.

Information about the deaths has come out slowly. Deputies were called to the home about 5 p.m. Friday when they found the five bodies.