DOUBLE SPRINGS, Ala. — Police believe the four people found dead in a car in rural northern Alabama were killed by one another in either a suicide pact or murder-suicide.
Winston County Sheriff Rick Harris said two of the victims were reportedly facing child pornography and molestation charges in their native Tennessee, and at least one of them had a court appearance scheduled for this week.
The bodies of three men and one woman were discovered Wednesday in a car on a county road in northern Alabama, and investigators spent Thursday trying to piece together details of the bizarre case.
Authorities say three of the victims were related. The names of the deceased have not been released, pending family notifications.
Harris said gunshot wounds appear to be the cause of death for every victim, noting all the shots seem to have come from inside the vehicle.
"They all died of gunshot wounds, and at this point we’ve ruled out any type of hostile drug takeover, a drug deal gone bad, or anything like that," Harris said. "We're exploring the possibility of some self-inflicted suicide, or murder-assisted suicide between the four. Forensics is doing a trajectory investigation now."
A passer-by noticed the vehicle on the side of the road her way to work Wednesday morning and called authorities when she saw it in the same place on her way home.
Harris said investigators have yet to find any reason to explain how the four Tennessee residents ended up in Winston County, though he believes they may have been staying in some area hotels around Alabama the past week.
Moore writes for The Cullman (Ala.) Times. The Associated Press contributed to this report.