Woman and three children shot dead

A woman and her three children were found shot to death in their western Ohio home, officials said.

A handgun was found in the neat and orderly home, and investigators were interviewing the woman’s boyfriend, who had recently moved out, Montgomery Sheriff’s Maj. Ed Copher said.

“I wouldn’t call anybody a suspect at this time,” Copher said.

Tonya Hawks, 31, and her three sons, aged two, four and five, had moved into the rented house last summer.

The bodies were found yesterday in various locations in the house and appeared to have been dead for several days, Copher said.

“The house was secure. Nothing would suggest that it was an intruder,” he said. “It didn’t appear there was a struggle or anything.”

Copher declined to say where or how many times they were shot, and would not release the names of the boyfriend, the boys or their fathers.

Concerned neighbours had called Clay Township police because they saw no activity for four days, and the house remained dark even though the family’s car was parked outside.

While police were on the way, a woman looked in the window and saw one of the boys lying still.

Another neighbour kicked in the door, thinking the boy needed help, Copher said.

“That’s when they saw there was blood,” said Janet Naylor, a next-door neighbour.

Naylor said the family was quiet and friendly. The boys were well-mannered and played in her front yard, greeting adults in the neighbourhood with, “Hi, neighbour!”

“It’s your worst nightmare,” Naylor said. “They were just so funny.”

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