Police in Sioux City, Iowa, today captured a man suspected of killing a woman, her five elementary school-age children and a 58-year-old man in what authorities called the worst mass murder the city has ever seen.
Adam Matthew Moss, 23, was apprehended shortly before noon local time after a 24-hour manhunt. He was captured without a struggle after police found him hiding in a shed.
"He is in custody and we are talking to him," Sioux City Police Chief Joseph Frisbie said.
There are no other suspects in the killings, he said.
Police: Victim Was Suspect’s Girlfriend
Police mounted a massive manhunt for Moss after the bodies of a woman and her five children were found in a Sioux City home on Thursday, and the body of an adult man was found at a separate location.
Police described the woman, 31-year-old Leticia Aguilar, as Moss' girlfriend. Moss had been friends with the slain man, Ronald Fish, since 1995, police said. The slain children — ages 6 to 12 — were identified as: Claudia, 12, Zach, 11, Larry, 9, Lisa, 7, and Michael, 6. Michael shared his mother's last name; the other children's surname was Soldana.
The police chief said his officers were about a half-hour behind the suspect all night long in a harrowing cat-and-mouse game that terrified the community.
"I feel extremely relieved that we have this person in our custody," he said.
Frisbie declined to provide details about either crime scene or how the slayings were committed, and said he was not yet prepared to discuss a possible motive for the killings.
"All I can tell you is that it was a very brutal murder," he said of Fish's killing.
"I've never seen people traumatized as badly as the people [victims] we've seen in these two scenes were," Frisbie said at an earlier news conference today.
"I can't give you the circumstances around it, but there's no question that we have a homicide here that's probably the worst we've ever seen in this community."
Investigators wore biohazard protection suits to remove the bodies and collect evidence.
Suspect Seemed to Be Getting His Life Together
The bodies of the mother and children were found by the family's baby sitter Thursday evening, but according to police they had been dead for several days.
They were discovered shortly after police received a call reporting that Fish's body had been found in a home about 2 miles from where the slain family was discovered.
The call came from one of Fish's co-workers, who had gone to his house because he was concerned that Fish had not shown up at work, according to police.
A man who described himself as a friend of Moss' told The Associated Press he thought the suspect was pulling his life together after spending time in prison.
"The last time I'd seen [Moss], he said he just got out of prison for drugs, assault and criminal mischief," said Mark Stroman, who also worked for the tire company Fish owned. "He said he was living with a girl and he seemed like he was getting his life straight."
Authorities said they would file formal charges against Moss next week.