Grief, shock in small southern Mo. town of 50 people after nine were found dead
TYRONE, Mo. — The victims of last week’s murders in the small southern Missouri town of Tyrone will be put to rest this week.
Friends and family will gather in Willow Springs, Mo., about 20 miles south of Tyrone, to remember Garold, Julie, Harold and Janell Aldridge. The two married couples were killed Thursday night, at the hands of their cousin Joseph Aldridge, 36, according to the police investigation.
Police were alerted to the bloodshed when a girl managed to flee a residence where she heard gunfire. She ran to a neighbor’s house and called police.
Seven people, all gunshot victims, were found dead in four residences in the small town of 50 people. One person managed to survive, and she was found wounded in one of the homes.
The gunman also was found dead Friday morning in a GMC pickup after going to another county more than 15 miles away, where he killed himself.
And, in a twist to their probe, investigators happened upon another body — that of an elderly woman — in a fifth home, though she died of natural causes. That person was the gunman’s mother, Alice L. Aldridge, 74. She died of metastatic lung cancer, said Tom Whittaker, the coroner for Texas County, Missouri. It was unclear Friday whether her death was connected to the case, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Kinder said.
The gunman’s finding his mother dead could be a motive, “but it would speculation for us to say that is the case,” Kinder told CNN. “We’re examining of a lot of different avenues now.”
The gunman “had been (living) with her for quite some time,” said Texas County Sheriff James Sigman.
The shooter didn’t leave a note, so investigators are asking family and neighbors about a possible motive, the sheriff said.
They victims are:
Garold Dee Aldridge, 52, and wife Julie Ann Aldridge, 47.
Harold Wayne Aldridge, 50, and wife Janell Arlisa Aldridge, 48.
Carey Dean Shriver, 46, and Valirea Love Shriver, 44, husband and wife.
Darrell Dean Shriver, 68. He is Carey’s father.
All victims lived within a three-mile radius of each other, authorities said.
“It is a small community out there. Everybody knows everybody, but as far as what their personal relationship is … I couldn’t tell you,” the sheriff said. “Crime like this in any community is pretty major.”
Investigators spoke to the surviving victim, a woman, but weren’t disclosing details, Sigman said.
“We obtained part of our information from her,” Sheriff Sigman said. “As far as I know, she’s expected to be okay.”
Suspect Joseph Jesse Aldridge, who used a .45-caliber handgun, had “a minor criminal history” with local authorities, Sigman added.
Pictures of the victims are below. A Gofundme page has been set up for their families.