RUTLEDGE, Ala. – Six family members were shot to death at their rural homestead Wednesday, and a baby and her 16-year-old mother were missing. Authorities were searching for the children, a motive and two people they said were potential witnesses.
The bodies of the victims, including three teenage boys, were discovered inside and outside a tin-roofed wooden house and a nearby mobile home Tuesday night, District Attorney John Andrews said.
He said there were no suspects and did not comment on what might have provoked the violence.
The district attorney did not identify the victims, but Coleman Ball of nearby Greenville said law enforcement officials told him they were all members of his family.
He said his mother, Mila Ruth Ball, 62, who lived in the house, was killed, as was his sister, Joann Ball, 35, who lived in the mobile home. He said the other victims were Joann Ball’s sons – Jerry Ball, 18, Tony Ball, 16, and John Ball, 14 – and Willie Hasley, who was related to Joann Ball by marriage.
Joann Ball’s daughter, 16-year-old Janice Ball, and her baby were missing, he said. He said that they lived in a second mobile home at the site, and that her boyfriend sometimes visited her there.
Authorities would not say whether the 16-year-old and her boyfriend were the two potential witnesses being sought.
The killings have frightened people living along the surrounding roads near Rutledge, about 40 miles south of Montgomery.
“I’m going to find me another place to live,” said Lynn Pickens, 37, who took her children to stay with relatives Tuesday night after learning of the killings. “I got four young ‘uns. I can’t put my children in danger like that.”
Andrews said two of the bodies were found when officers first arrived Tuesday night, three others were found later, and the sixth was found Wednesday morning.
Investigators strung crime tape around the scene and officers kept onlookers away from the house, which has a screened porch and is set on a tree-shaded lawn with the two mobile homes only a short walk away.
Coleman Ball said he went to his mother’s home after an aunt called and said the door to the house was locked and she was concerned. Along with the six victims, spanning three generations of the Ball family, a dog was found shot but survived.