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Body of boy, 8, found "hidden" in home where 3 were slain

Last Updated Oct 12, 2017 3:11 PM EDT

IRONTON, Ohio — Four people, including an 8-year-old boy, were found fatally shot and a fifth person was discovered stabbed and critically wounded at a pair of residences in southeast Ohio.

Officials were also hunting for 23-year-old Aaron Lawson, who they called a “person of interest” in the attacks.

Lawrence County Ohio Sheriff’s Office via WKBN

Deputies found the bodies of three adults in a house trailer in an unincorporated area of Lawrence County at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said. A fourth adult was found stabbed in the head and neck about a quarter-mile away at the residence of a relative of the shooting victims. That person was flown to a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.

Authorities in Ohio had initially issued a missing child alert for an 8-year-old boy, Devin Holston, who lived at the home where the bodies were found and couldn’t be located after a search of the area, but then canceled the alert. 

Authorities said later Thursday afternoon the body of an 8-year-old was found inside the home. They said the child’s body was put in a place where it was “hidden” and wasn’t discovered until after the initial search.

None of the deceased were immediately identified.

“We no longer have a missing child, what we have here is a horrible, horrible tragedy,” Lawrence County Sheriff Jeffery Lawless said Thursday.

Lawless told the newspaper that all those involved were “related in some way.”

Around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, deputies spotted Lawson in a blue truck in Ironton, about 15 miles south of where the victims were found, the sheriff said. Deputies chased Lawson before he crashed his vehicle into a ditch and ran into the woods, the sheriff said.

The sheriff’s office said releasing further information would compromise the investigation. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is assisting Lawrence County in the investigation.

Lawless said schools in the Rock Hill district are closed Thursday because of the attacks.

The initial report about the slayings — violence against multiple people found at trailers belonging to related residents — recalled details from a still-unsolved homicide case that rattled rural southern Ohio last year. 

In April 2016, eight members of the Rhoden family were found shot to death in four homes in the Piketon area. The deaths on Wednesday occurred roughly 40 miles southeast of Piketon.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio attorney general’s office said Thursday that investigators have no indication of a connection between the cases.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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