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5-Year-Old Girl Killed, Toddler Clinging to Life After Double Murder-Suicide

A toddler was found severely injured but miraculously alive Monday at the scene of a double murder-suicide in West Virginia, WSAZ-TV reports.

On Monday afternoon, deputies discovered three dead bodies inside a home in Kanawha County.

Investigators believe a father fatally shot his wife and their daughter, who was in grade school, and then turned the gun on himself.

“It appears that this was a double murder-suicide and that’s the way that it’s being looked at,” Kanawha County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Humphreys told the television station. “Now that of course is subject to change as things are discovered inside.”

Humphreys added that investigators “have a good theory that it was the man, but that is based on the weapon placement, [and] of course that is subject to change,” the television station reports.

However, Humphreys appears to have later confirmed that the father. D.J. Thomas, was the shooter.


Deputies also found a female toddler, reportedly 17 months old, who was alive but severely injured, according to the television station.

“As I understood when I arrived on the scene, the child was found beneath the adult female, presumably the mother,” Humphreys told the television station.

The surviving child is believed to have bullet fragments lodged inside of her and is in critical condition at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Investigators have not yet established a precise timeline, but there are reports that the family was last seen on Friday.

Thomas had been arrested in February on allegations of domestic violence. The man’s wife had called police to report that her husband was “putting his finger in her face and then tackled her to the ground and began to pull her hair,” according to a criminal complaint obtained by WCHS-TV. However, charges were dismissed when the victim did not appear in court, according to the television station.

Police had responded to seven 911 calls from the home within the past year, including at least one report of shots fired, MetroNews reports.

Deputies were dispatched to the home Monday after a 911 call came in around noon. The residence is on Elkdale Drive in the Mink Shoals part of the county.

Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford told MetroNews that the killings are appalling.

“It’s absolutely terrible what one person will do to another,” Rutherford told MetroNews. “When you have children involved in it, it makes it unbelievable.”

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