Police: Man confesses after family ‘brutally and viciously murdered’

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CITRONELLE, AL (AP) – It may take investigators days to untangle a grisly murder scene at a southern Alabamahome where five adults, including one pregnant female, were found murdered, authorities said Sunday.

Police said the victims were found Saturday afternoon inside the residence located in the city of Citronelle, about 30 miles northwest of Mobile. A 4-month-old infant also was found alive at the home.

Authorities were still working to identify the bodies and notify relatives, Capt. Paul Burch of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office told reporters early Sunday morning.

“Given the way the scene looks, we’re going to be here a couple of days,” Burch said. “It’s obviously a horrific scene.”

Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich told Al.com that the crime scene where five people were “brutally and viciously murdered” was the worst she’d seen in 20 years as a prosecutor.

Burch said suspect Derrick Dearman of Leakesville, Miss., was taken into custody after he walked into the Greene County Sheriff’s Office Saturday afternoon and confessed to the crimes. Burch said he expects Dearman to face five or six counts of capital murder.

“Sad to say, one of the females was about five months pregnant,” Burch said.

Burch and Rich revealed few specifics of the scene, but said it was clear that firearms and at least one other type of weapon had been used. Burch said that it wasn’t immediately clear whether the victims had been attacked while sleeping or had engaged in a prolonged struggle.

“We’re not there yet,” Rich said, when asked about details of the deaths. “We have a horrible scene here.”

Burch said it appeared events began unfolding in the early hours of Saturday morning. Somewhere between midnight and 1 a.m., residents of the house had called 911 to report a trespasser. Burch said it was his understanding that during the call Dearman had been identified as the trespasser.

Burch said he understood that Citronelle police responded to the call, but found no one.

Burch said it appeared the murders had taken place later Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon, a woman reported to Citronelle police that she’d been kidnapped and escaped. Information from her account led Citronelle police to the house on Jim Platt Road. Burch said investigators believed the woman who contacted police had an undtermined relationship with Dearman.

An investigation is ongoing.

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