Authorities identify Texas County, Mo. murder victims

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TYRONE, Mo. -- Eight people found dead late Thursday night and early Friday morning after a string of murders in Tyrone, Mo., in Texas County have been identified by authorities. Texas County is 260 miles southeast of Kansas City and 210 miles due south of Jefferson City.

According to a news release from Texas County, the victims are:

Garold Dee Aldridge, 52
Julie Ann Aldridge, 47
(These two are husband and wife.)

Harold Wayne Aldridge, 50
Janell Arlisa Aldridge, 48
(These two are also husband and wife.)

Darrell Dean Shriver, 68
Carey Dean Shriver, 46
Valirea Love Shriver, 44
(Carey and Valirea are husband and wife. Darrell is Carey's father)

The gunman is identified as Joseph Jesse Aldridge, 36, of Tyrone, Mo. During a 2:00 p.m., news conference, FOX 4's Shannon O'Brien asked authorities if Aldridge was known to law enforcement. They answered that he had a minor prior criminal history.

On Saturday, the Texas County Sheriff's Office said a 67-year-old female victim from Tyrone is currently recovering.

Authorities believe Aldridge killed the seven people, all adults including three women and four men, and injured another in a four-home shooting spree in southern Missouri before fatally shooting himself one county away. Aldridge is the son of Alice Aldridge, 74, who was also discovered dead, although investigators think she may have died of natural causes. An examination will be performed on Saturday. Aldridge is believed to be a cousin of the other victims.

A girl who fled one of the homes in the small community of Tyrone alerted police Thursday night, calling them from a neighbor's house to say she'd heard gunshots. James Sigman, Sheriff of Texas County, said once they found the first two bodies, they then began checking the residences of other family members. They found five more bodies and an injured person in three other Tyrone homes, he said.

Aldridge was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot in a GMC pickup that was still running. Officers located it in the middle of a highway in adjacent Shannon County, police said. It's about 20-25 miles from the crime scenes in Tyrone.

Other details disclosed during the afternoon news conference:

  • All victims are believed to have been killed with the same handgun.
  • No other weapons were found inside the suspect's truck.
  • Authorities have not yet determined in what order the victims were killed.
  • They said they could not confirm reports that Aldridge came home and found his mother dead, which sparked the rampage.
  • The victims that have not been identified were not in the Aldridge family.
  • The gunman did not leave a note or any kind of explanation.
  • There was no sign of forced entry at any of the homes.
  • The sheriff says he's hopeful they've found all the victims. He said they searched a lot of areas to make sure they'd found all the victims.

sheriffWhen asked specifically how many places they searched, Sheriff Sigman said: "It'd be hard to put a number on it."  He said as his deputies searched, he kept thinking, "I hope it ends," and that they'd find no more bodies. The sheriff said he knew some of the victims, as Tyrone and Texas County is an area of only about 26,000 residents.

"We had three scenes with two bodies. Two scenes with one body, and then the suspect's scene," Sigman said.

A motive for the killings has yet to be determined. All of the victims’ residences are located within a three-mile radius in Tyrone. All officers have cleared from the six crime scenes.

"In our job, we see a lot of bad stuff, and this is bad," Kinder said. "This is also hard on the police officers who are working out there. It's not natural to see that sort of thing."

It wasn't immediately clear if any of the victims were related to school-age-children, but news of the deaths has shaken the community, the superintendent of the area's schools said Friday.

"There is a lot of speculation right now and we just don't have the information. The area is within the school district; these are my families," said Scott Dill, superintendent of the Houston R-1 School District. "We run buses out there daily."

Classes for the district's 1,000 students are in session Friday, in part to give them a sense of normalcy, he said.

"We do have counselors available, and other offers from other districts to help out. As a small town, we all cry together. My principals are all assessing the situation now, and we will make a determination on what to do next," Dill said.

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