KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. — The four family members reportedly slaughtered by a juvenile in West Virginia have been identified — with the parents shot in bed and at least one child found in a “puddle of blood” in a hallway, according to a neighbor.
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office identified the dead as Dale Long, 37, his 39-year-old wife, Risa Mae Saunders, also known as Risa Long, and two of their children, Gage Ripley, 12, and Jameson Long, 3.
“Each victim appears to have been shot,” the sheriff’s office said in an earlier release about Sunday morning’s bloodbath in Elkview, stressing that it “does not appear to be a random crime.”
Another member of the family — who local media said was a teenage boy — was located safely elsewhere, the sheriff’s office said.
A 16-year-old boy was charged with the murders Monday but was not identified “due to his age,” the department said, insisting it is “unlawful for our agency to release more information regarding juvenile offenders,” New York Post reported.
Neighbor Nathan Gandee told WSAZ how he helped raise the alarm after one of the Longs’ relatives found their bodies during a wellness check after failing to hear from them.
“He said, ‘Well they are all dead … they are all dead in there,’” Gandee recalled.
“He said that the parents were in bed. The father still had a CPAP on,” he said, referring to a breathing machine that helps those with sleep apnea.
“The child was laying in the hallway in just a puddle of blood,” he told the station, saying he ran inside the house to call for help.
“To lose two children that age, it’s just horrible. I’m speechless,” Gandee told the local TV crew. “I just think about the kids and how they had so much life ahead of them and it’s taken away.”
An avid archer, Gage Ripley was a sixth-grader at Elkview Middle School, whose principal, Missy Lovejoy, noted his death “with great sadness and a heavy heart.”
“Gage was a hard worker. He was polite to adults and always willing to help,” the principal said in a statement. “Teachers describe him as a beloved student and one that was willing to take charge.”