Friday, September 25, 2009
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Questions and answers that followed Thursday's news conference on the Beason killings

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(Originally posted Thursday)

[September 25, 2009]  Logan County Sheriff Steve Nichols took a number of questions at the 4 p.m. news conference on Thursday. With more definitive information in hand, particularly the autopsy results, he was able to provide more answers than on Tuesday or Wednesday. Yet some questions could not be answered since there is no suspect in custody and the investigation is ongoing.

It also became more apparent from his explanations that due to the size and extent of the crime scene, which was extraordinary, it took an extensive amount of time to begin the assessment phase and then the collection of evidences.

Below is a summary of the key questions and answers:

Q: Were there more injuries to the victims than just the blunt force trauma?

A: "We will not talk about any other injuries other than what the pathologist has told us, which is that each victim's cause of death was by blunt force trauma."

It was asked if one person could have inflicted these types of wounds on five people, to which the sheriff answered, "We can't comment on that just yet."

The timeline of the crime also was not made available. "That is information that we can put together, but we cannot comment on either," he said.

Q: Since the killer is still on the loose, is there a possibility that the killer was someone the family knew or had some connection with?

A: "Well, again, that is information again that I can't comment upon. I know in reference to your question yesterday about the 18-hour delay, I believe I tried to explain yesterday, the crime scene itself was still being processed. We had to wait to see if we had a murder scene or a possible murder-suicide scene. We weren't able to digest that information until the early morning hours of Tuesday. And at that point, at that time, I believe we took the steps necessary to protect the residents of Beason. Also, we had a heavy police presence in Beason during that time (meaning the first hours of the investigation).

"At no time would I ever put the public of Logan County or anybody else in jeopardy by not saying something. That's why we waited so long. We had to know what had happened before we could make any decisions in that regard."

Q: Were there signs at the scene that it was a break-in?

A: "At this point in time, that is information we can't give out."

Q: What is the medical status of the 3-year-old?

A: "The status of the 3-year-old today is she is still in critical condition, but she is stable in that condition. Right now, the information we are being given is that we expect her to recover."

Q: Time of death for the victims?

A: "That is information I am not going to release."

When another reporter asked why, he said, "Because I'm not." Then he explained: "That's part of the investigation which still has to be analyzed. As I said, we just concluded the scene yesterday afternoon. All the evidence has been taken to be analyzed, and I'm not going to speculate just to put something out there. When I put something out, I want it to be factual."

Q: Since the house has been marked off as "no trespassing," have people attempted to get into the home or around the home?

A: "I'm not saying that at all. It's just at this point and time to give people an opportunity to know that if we do catch somebody there, we will arrest them."

Q: It was asked how much police presence the area will see for now.

A: "Well, we have always had a police presence in the area and we are going to continue. But we will intensify (the presence) simply because we want to catch whoever is out there. We have always had a police presence (in Beason)."

Q: It was asked if there had been any progress on locating the gray-primered truck that is a vehicle of interest, having been seen by area residents on late Sunday and early Monday in the town.

A: "Yes, as I have said, we have had over 100 calls, and we have stopped some vehicles, but they did not fit the description." The sheriff went on to explain that the vehicles fit a partial description of the truck they were seeking but did not fit the description completely. The sheriff also used a Ford truck as an example of tips that led nowhere, but confirmed again that the truck is either a Ford Ranger or a Chevy S-10.

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Q: The sheriff was asked if he believed there was any link to the death in Mason City a month ago.

A: "I don't know the specifics to the death in Mason City, but right now, personally, I would say no… If it is, we will look at it. But right now I am going to say no."

Q: What involvement does the FBI have in the case?

A: " They're just bringing their expertise to the table. (They provide) more eyes to try and analyze everything we are trying to look at."

Q: It was brought up that the FBI Behavioral Unit was involved.

A: Nichols explained: "Well, it's going to be whatever unit we ask for. The call was made, and we just want more eyes and more bodies to try and solve this crime."

Q: Are child support and parenting issues with the family as a possible motive?

A: "If you are talking about any past cases that the family may have had with DCFS, I have no comment or information."

Q: Have Logan County authorities had any contact with the family before this incident?

A: "That is information that we have that we are going to use with our investigation, so I'm not going to release any information on that matter."

Q: How has the investigation changed since it has been 72 hours since the crime had been reported, and how have the tactics changed?

A: "Right now I don't believe our tactics have changed. We are going to continue to run down every tip and lead we get, and then we are also going to continue to work with whatever information that we get from the supporting services that are here. I mean, our tactics haven't changed. We are going to continue to go forward with a strong effort until we resolve this incident."

Q: How many law enforcement officials were working on the case?

A: "We have several dozen at this time working on the case. I don't have an exact number, but it is several dozen."

Q: How wide is the search for the pickup truck of interest due to the length of time since it was sighted?

A: "That is information that we are not going to give out."

Q: It was asked what the sheriff would say to the citizens who have little information to go by and to ease their worries that there is a killer walking around the streets.

A: "Like I said yesterday, the people just have to be practical in what they do. Lock your doors at night, know where your kids are, be aware of the surroundings around your house, and take care of your neighbors too, and just keep an eye out.
I think people know me well enough to know that if I felt there was reason for me to say something and that they are in harm's way, I would come out and say that. But at this point in time, we are going to let the evidence of the case lead us to where we need to be, and everyone needs to just take the same precautions that they always do."

The sheriff concluded by saying that the Friday press conference would be at noon.

[LDN staff]

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