Causes of death still unclear in triple homicide in Southern Indiana

Causes of death still unclear in triple homicide in Southern Indiana
Richard Lee Burton Jr. (Source: ISP)
Richard Lee Burton Jr. (Source: ISP)
Richard Lee Burton Jr. (Source: ISP)
Richard Lee Burton Jr. (Source: ISP)

WASHINGTON COUNTY, IN (WAVE) - A triple homicide investigation is unfolding in Washington County.

Police discovered the victims in their own home Sunday afternoon along South Becks Mill Road outside of Salem.

Now, investigators say the man they believe is responsible, 47-year-old Richard Lee Burton Jr., is also dead. Indiana State Police said he was found in his truck in Monroe County around 8 a.m. Monday.

Neighbors described the victims as a nice family.

"It's just heartbreaking," neighbor Harold Jackson said.

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Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin said someone who knew Burton got concerned and called Salem police, asking officers to check on the people living inside the home. When they did, they discovered three people dead. Neighbors said the victims are a couple and their teenage son. The coroner is not releasing their names or cause of death until the autopsies are complete.

"During part of our investigation (Sunday)  evening, we learned that Richard Burton was also living at the home with the deceased victims," Goodin said. "We also knew that we couldn't find Richard Lee Burton, Jr., so obviously that was our first lead that we were trying to follow."

Sunday night, during a manhunt, police released pictures warning that Burton may be armed and dangerous. Monday morning, investigators got a tip that his truck was spotted at a horse park outside Bloomington.

"When the Monroe County deputies arrived at the scene and walked up to the vehicle, they noticed Richard Lee Burton, Jr., deceased in the cab of the truck," Goodin said.

It's not yet clear how Burton died, but police said they believe he is the man responsible for the triple homicide. It's news that has left neighbors shocked.

"It's terrible, especially a young kid," Jackson said.

Investigators are now trying to piece together what happened and why.

"There is no excuse for happened," Goodin said.  "It's a terrible, terrible tragedy."

Autopsies are scheduled for Tuesday morning.

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