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Questions ongoing after six murders

Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Authorities in Tennessee and Alabama are continuing to work double-time as they attempt to put together pieces in the puzzle surrounding the murders of six people, four of them in Lincoln County.

The common link in the case appears to be Warren Vincent Crutcher, Jr., who was initially identified as a person of interest in the case. Crutcher, whose body was found at about 8 a.m. Tuesday in woods just off B.H. Reeves Road in Hazel Green, Ala., knew all the other victims, say officials. His body was the last of those discovered in the series of thus far inexplicable deaths.

The murders were at first thought to be domestic in nature, then later described as drug-related, but Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder has only confirmed that the acts were anything but random as he assured residents they should not be concerned about their safety.

“We are meeting this morning to put together the pieces,” said Blackwelder early Thursday. The findings of autopsies conducted on each of the dead were also anticipated as authorities from both states met.

Four crime scenes are at the heart of the investigation. The first of those was discovered mid-morning Monday when authorities got a call to do a welfare check at a Huntsville Highway residence less than a mile north of the Tennessee/Alabama state line. A 3-year-old in the home had dialed a family member, saying his mother wouldn’t wake up.

When authorities arrived, they found Chabreya Campbell, 22, and her 18-month-old son Rico Ragland dead in the home. Chabreya was also believed to be about six months pregnant. Chabreya and Rico lived at the home along with her 3-year-old son Vincent Crutcher, who was found there unharmed. The second adult found dead in the home was 21-year-old Amber McCaulley, of Huntsville, Ala.

The second crime scene was found late Monday afternoon when authorities were called to the home of Jessica Brown, 21, at 4 Fox Wood Drive just off Monks Road in southern Lincoln County, not far from the first crime scene. Her 2-month-old son was found in the home unharmed.

Both that 2-month-old and the 3-year-old found at the initial crime scene were both children of Vincent Crutcher, authorities have said, noting that Crutcher had relationships with all three women.

The third crime scene was discovered just after 1 a.m. Tuesday when Huntsville police responded to a shooting call and found Jeffrey Pope dead at 5102 Ortega Circle residence. Investigators said that three men, dressed in black, were seen running from the house just after the shooting.

Then the fourth crime scene is where Crutcher’s body was found just off B.H. Reeves Road in Hazel Green.

As of Thursday morning, funeral arrangements had been made for four of the six victims.

Visitation for Jessica Brown will be held 4-8 p.m. Thursday evening at Higgins Funeral Home in Fayetteville, followed by her funeral services at 11 a.m. Friday. She will be buried in Booneville Cemetery.

Funeral services for Amber McCaulley will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in New Market, Ala., where she will lie in repose one hour prior to the service. Interment will be in Valley View Memorial Gardens.

Joint services will be held at 12 noon Tuesday for Chabreya Campbell and her son, Rico, at Saint Bartley Primitive Baptist Church in Huntsville. They will both lie in repose one hour prior to the funeral. Interment will be in Valhalla Memory Gardens. Visitation is planned for 12 noon to 8 p.m. on Monday and from 8:30 until 10:15 a.m. Tuesday at Royal Funeral Home in Huntsville.

Services are incomplete for Jeffrey Pope and Warren Vincent Crutcher. Royal Funeral Home is in charge of their arrangements as well as those for Campbell, infant Ragland, and McCaulley.

Persons having information that might assist in the investigation are asked to contact either the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department at (931) 433-9821 or Lincoln County Area Crime Stoppers at (931) 433-7867. Persons calling Crime Stoppers can remain unanimous.