Six people found slain in TN, AL

FAYETTEVILLE, TN Five people, including members of the same family, were found dead in two rural homes near Fayetteville in southern Tennessee Saturday, and a sixth body was discovered at a Huntsville, Ala., business, authorities said

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm said in an e-mail that a suspect, 30-year-old Jacob Shaffer, of Huntsville, was in custody in Lincoln County, but no charges had been filed. She said deputies found him on the porch of one of the Fayetteville homes.

Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder said at a news conference that his department is investigating three crime scenes, though he did not elaborate. He did not release the victims' names and would not confirm the causes of death. He also did not release a motive in what he called "horrendous" killings and "one of the worst crimes Lincoln County has seen."

Helm said some of the Tennessee victims were related and were killed Friday night or early Saturday. Huntsville police Sgt. Mickey Allen, who works for the city's major crimes unit, told TV station WAFF that based on the suspect's information, police found a body at Hall Cultured Marble Granite late Saturday morning. Authorities have not said how the slayings in the two communities are linked.

Authorities did not release the victims' ages. But Karon Weatherman, who lives about a half-mile away from the Tennessee homes, said she saw children as young as 4 and 5 running back and forth between the houses across the road from each other.

One of the Tennessee homes was once a skating rink that was converted into a duplex, said Weatherman. She did not know the family but said they moved in earlier this year.

"I wouldn't expect nothing like this to happen," she said.

All phone numbers listed in Huntsville under Jacob Shaffer's name had been disconnected.

Fayetteville is a town of 7,000 people about 90 miles south of Nashville near the Tennessee-Alabama border. Huntsville, about 30 miles south, is the largest city in northern Alabama with more than 170,000 people.

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