Schools close Friday amid manhunt in southern Ohio after slayings of boy, 3 adults

COLUMBUS (AP) — The manhunt for the suspect in the deadly shootings of a 7-year-old boy and three adults in far southern Ohio entered its second day Friday as some schools in the area closed over safety concerns.

Twenty-three-year-old Arron Lawson is wanted on warrants for three counts of murder and one count of aggravated murder.

Deputies spotted Lawson early Thursday in a blue truck in Ironton, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of where the victims’ bodies were found in a trailer home, but they lost him after a brief chase when he crashed into a ditch and ran into the woods in the dark, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeffery Lawless said.

The sheriff’s office had no update on the manhunt Friday morning.

It has publicly identified only one of the victims: 7-year-old Devin Holston, who initially was the subject of a missing-child alert after the other bodies were found Wednesday evening. Authorities spent hours searching for him, only to later find the boy dead in the same house trailer, his body apparently hidden, Lawless said.

A fourth adult who came upon the scene after work was stabbed there and fled to seek help, the sheriff said. That victim was later flown to a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia, that wasn’t giving updates about the person’s condition.

Lawson lived just up the road from the trailer home.

Lawless told the Ironton Tribune that Lawson was related to some of the victims, but the sheriff hasn’t discussed what might have motivated the killings. The sheriff’s office has said releasing further information would compromise the investigation.

Agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation are helping Lawrence County with the case, BCI spokeswoman Jill Del Greco said.

The initial report about the slayings — violence against multiple people believed to be related — recalled details from a still-unsolved homicide case that rattled rural southern Ohio last year, but the cases didn’t appear to be connected, Del Greco said.

The deaths on Wednesday occurred roughly 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of the Piketon area, where eight people from the Rhoden family were found shot to death in four homes in April 2016.