Police are investigating a homicide after five women and girls were found dead at a residence in Atkins, a rural town in central Arkansas, on Christmas day. The Pope County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that the five victims were female, two adults and three juveniles ranging between 8 and 50 years of age, but did not release their identities. A GoFundMe created by a family member identified the victims as members of the Heflin/Patrick family.
The fundraiser’s organizer, relative Melissa Renee Brown wrote, “On Christmas day, we recieved unimaginable news. 5 of our precious relatives were found deceased in their home. A grandmother, mother, and 3 children, all taken from us. At the moment there are no details to share. It’s being investigated as a murder.”
The investigation is still ongoing and the Pope County Sheriff’s Office stated that they don’t believe there is a danger to the public and the incident is thought to be isolated.
The Sheriff’s Office Has Not Publicly Identified a Suspect or a Motive in the Christmas Day Killings
The Sheriff’s Office revealed in a press conference on December 26 that officers responded to the scene on the evening of December 25 after a family member arrived at the home and found the five deceased. Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones said the victims were believed to be related but did not indicate the relationship between them.
Jones also stated that the five individuals died from gunshot wounds. No suspect was identified, he said, but authorities believe the incident was “domestic” in nature and the suspect is among the deceased individuals, the press conference revealed. No motive has been identified at this time and the investigation is still ongoing, with assistance from the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas State Crime Lab. The press release on the Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page stated: “We anticipate this being an in-depth investigation that will span many days in an effort to collect and process all the evidence on scene.”
Jones said, “It’s rare anywhere. We just need to pray for a family that’s just been devastated. At this time, we believe this to be an isolated incident, and do not feel that there is any continued danger to the local public.”
Neighbors Spoke About Their Shock at the Tragic Homicide in the Small Town
Neighbors of the residence where the bodies were found on the 5100 block of Pine Ridge Road spoke to KATV about their shock and grief at the multiple homicides on Christmas day. Michael Roberts, who’s lived in the area for over 15 years, said, “It’s real sad because we just couldn’t see how in the world it could possibly happen. Not in our neighborhood.”
He added: “I went to church with her right down the road here at this little church and I just couldn’t believe it.” Another neighbor, Charlie Parnell, said, “It’s not unusual for strange things to happen out here.” He added:
It’s not a bad area the people around here are pretty nice there’s a slight problem with stealing and some narcotics every now and then. Whether it was drug-related or alcohol or just mentally disturbed it’s always bad when a child loses its life.
Atkins is roughly an hour northwest of Little Rock, Arkansas.