An Alabama teenager who mysteriously went missing Monday was shot and killed by his younger brother and hidden in the woods behind the family’s home, authorities announced late Wednesday.
The tragic saga began Monday evening when the boys’ father said he returned home around 7:30 p.m. to find his 17-year-old son was nowhere to be found, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement with Press release quoted by local media. The next day, he said, he was called to pick up his 14-year-old son from school early because the boy was distraught over his older brother’s “disappearance.”
The two returned home and began searching for the 17-year-old, whose body was found by his father about 60 yards behind the family home, police said. Shortly after this grim discovery, investigators learned of alarming comments the 14-year-old had allegedly made to a school friend.
Police say he confided in his friend that he killed his “missing” brother.
“He then asked his friend to help him murder the rest of his family and bury their bodies. “The friend also stated that the 14-year-old had a hit list of family members he wanted to kill in his book bag and made statements about wanting to shoot up the school,” the sheriff’s office said.
“This student took a test and was so disturbed by what this 14-year-old friend had told him that he reported it to the teacher,” Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas told reporters at a news conference late Wednesday.
Investigators searched the teen’s book bag and discovered the hit list, Russell said. The 14-year-old confessed to shooting his brother, who then “staggered out of the house” and “fell at the bottom of the stairs.” The 14-year-old then dragged the body into the woods behind the house.
It was not immediately clear what led to the shooting or what the possible motive might be. The Pike County Board of Education released a statement Wednesday confirming that a student was “arrested in connection with the death of a family member.”
School officials called on law enforcement to increase security in light of the 14-year-old’s alleged threats, but stressed that they had found no evidence of a threat to school grounds.