K E N L Y, N.C., July 27, 2001 -- The parents of three teenage siblings found dead in a squalid mobile home have been questioned twice by authorities who said today they have no suspects in the fatal shootings.
Marnie Rose Warren, 19, and her stepbrothers, Brandon Keith Warren, 14, and Bradley Kyle Warren, 13, were found dead Thursday in the home filled with trash and animal droppings.
Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said parents Kent and Nissa Warren were cooperative, though grief-stricken, when they were questioned twice Thursday. Another interview was planned for today.
Autopsy results were not immediately available from the state medical examiner's office in Chapel Hill.
Authorities had no suspects today and had not ruled out suicide. Sheriff's Capt. Dale Wheeler said neighbors were not at risk. Investigators have recovered a gun from the residence, but they won't confirm whether it was involved in the shootings.
Nissa Warren called police Thursday afternoon after finding the bodies, Bizzell said.
‘You're Not Going to Believe This’
Warren told investigators that she last saw the teens about four hours before she found the bodies. Her husband was at work.
A neighbor, Frances Jones, said she was driving by the trailer Thursday afternoon when Nissa Warren, standing with a deputy, flagged her down.
"She held up three fingers and said, `Frances, you're not going to believe this: My children are dead,"' Jones said.
Jones said she thought the woman was referring to the dogs, chickens, cows, goats, geese and horses the family kept in their yard. "What do you mean, your kids are dead?" Jones asked.
The woman responded: "My children are dead; they're laying on the floor naked, dead," Jones said.
Bizzell said there was no evidence the children had been mistreated, though he said the home, about 35 miles southeast of Raleigh, was full of garbage. "The place is unsanitary, both inside and out," he said.
100 Percent Country
Neighbors said they knew little about the family.
"They were all home-school students, and they were not enrolled in public schools," said Jim Causby, superintendent of Johnston County schools.
Jimmy Turnage, 62, who lives just outside Kenly, said he met the Warrens a few years ago when the mother came to him looking for an automatic watering device for chickens.
They became friends, and from time to time Turnage gave Nissa Warren potbellied pigs that people had brought him. The children grew fond of him, Turnage said.
"Every time I'd go over there, they'd come and see me and hug me just like I was a member of their family," he said. "They had a real sweet personality. … They were country people, just 100 percent country."
Aaron Mitchell, who lives about a quarter-mile from the victims' home, said he was shocked at the deaths. He used to let them pick blueberries growing near his house.
"They seemed like right nice kids," Mitchell said. "Before they would come pick any, they'd always ask me about it, and I'd say: 'Yeah, you can get some.'"
Neighbors said the husband worked at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store. A store manager said Thursday night he had been instructed not to comment.