Five people were found slain at a house here today, and authorities were searching for the 28-year-old brother of one of the victims.
Police said the victims were a man, a woman and three children. They would not confirm ages or identities. Neighbors and a social worker said the children were a 12-year-old boy, a 9-year-old girl with spina bifida and a 1-year-old boy with a developmental disability.
Police identified the suspect as Lawrence Scott Dame, 28, a former prison inmate who had recently been released from the Anoka County jail, where he was being held for allegedly stealing one of the family’s cars.
Police Chief Dave Pecchia refused to confirm media reports that the fugitive was related to one of the victims, but an Anoka County social worker who had worked with the family confirmed that the woman killed was Dame’s sister.
“As soon as I heard—family of five, Chippewa Trail—I knew her brother’s name was going on the (TV) screen,” said the woman, who asked that her name be withheld while Dame was free. “I wasn’t surprised.”
Search is On Pecchia said the victims were a family, but he didn’t know the relationship between them. Authorities would not say how the victims died.
Dame was described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, about 150 pounds with short hair. Dame should be considered armed and dangerous, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. He may have been driving a car that belonged to the victims, a gold 1999 Saturn station wagon with Minnesota license DDY 957. Anyone who sees such a car was asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (763) 427-1212.
Police said they had some leads, but Dame remained at large tonight.
“We’re getting several calls that we’re following up on now,” Pecchia said tonight.
Recent Disturbances Police had been called to the house twice recently for disturbances involving Dame, once for theft and once for a “domestic-related” situation, Pecchia said.
Dame was sent to prison in February 1996 for first-degree assault with a knife in Morrison County, according to the state Department of Corrections’ Web site. The site listed an expected release date of February of this year, but also had Dame classified as a fugitive.
Police were called to the house about 1 p.m. after the man didn’t show up for work and a neighbor noticed the house’s garage door open.
They stretched yellow tape to cordon off the house, a gray two-story in a cul de sac in this suburb about 17 miles northeast of Minneapolis. The bodies were still in the house late Thursday afternoon. Pecchia said officers requested a search warrant before re-entering the house because of the prospect that Dame might assert a claim to residency in the house.
One of Minnesota’s Worst Slays The homicides would rank among Minnesota’s worst. Recent multiple-victim homicides include the 1998 killings of six children in St. Paul by their mother, Khoua Her, and a 1994 gang firebombing that killed five children of the Coppage family in St. Paul.
In 1988, 16-year-old David Brom of suburban Rochester used an ax to kill his parents, 14-year-old brother and 9-year-old sister.
In 1999, five family members, including four children, died in a fire that authorities said Primitivo Juan Rivas set at his house near Lonsdale before killing himself.