Boy reported missing found shot to death; search for suspect in Ohio homicides continues

Law enforcement officers involved in a massive manhunt in a quadruple murder investigation in Lawrence County, Ohio, gather Thursday. Authorities are following up on tips in the search for suspect Aaron Lawson, 23. (WCHS/WVAH)

PEDRO, Ohio (WCHS/WVAH) - The Lawrence County sheriff said a missing boy who was sought as authorities investigate the homicides of three adults has been found dead of a gunshot wound.

Devin Holston, 7, who authorities previously said was missing and they believed could be in danger, was found dead in the mobile home where the other bodies were discovered, Sheriff Jeff Lawless said during a news conference Thursday. The boy's body appeared to be hidden.

Meanwhile, the search for Aaron Lawson, 23, the suspect in the investigation in the deaths of four people who were found gunned down in a mobile home in Pedro, Ohio, continues. Another person at the mobile home was stabbed, but the sheriff said he is good condition and expects him to be OK.

Lawless said warrants have been issued for three counts of murder and one count of aggravated murder and further charges could be coming.

The sheriff said a massive manhunt involving multiple agencies from several states have been involved in the search. Helicopters and bloodhounds have been used. He said the search has been difficult because the area is heavily wooded and has strip mines and caves.

Multiple law enforcement agencies in Ohio and a West Virginia State Police helicopter are joining in a massive manhunt Thursday in Lawrence County, Ohio, in search of a person of interest in a triple homicide.

Law enforcement officers are searching for Aaron Lawson, 23, who has been described as a person of interest after three people were found dead Wednesday night from gunshot wounds at a mobile home in Pedro, Ohio.

Meanwhile, authorities said a 7-year-old boy, Devin Holston, who was reported missing from a residence about a quarter mile away from the shooting scene, has been recovered, but the child’s status has not been clarified. The second residence was the scene of a stabbing where a person had stab wounds to the neck and head and was flown to the hospital.

The search for Lawson centers around a side road off State Route 141 north of Ironton. A resident in that area reported seeing someone about 7:30 a.m. Thursday who they believe was Lawson on a hillside. Now authorities were searching a hillside ridge in the area.

Multiple law enforcement authorities have joined in the search, including the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Marshals Service and prison personnel.

Authorities said a missing boy has been "recovered" as the search for a person of interest in a triple homicide in Pedro, Ohio, continues, but they did not provide any more information about the child's status.

An endangered missing child advisory had been issued for a 7-year-old boy who authorities said could be in danger, but the Ohio State Attorney General's Office said in an alert message that the child has been recovered. It did not provide any more details about the child's status.

Deputies are actively searching for Aaron Lawson, 23. He is described as 5-foot-9, weighs 139 pounds, and has brown hair and hazel eyes. Rock Hill Local School District was closed Thursday as deputies continued to search for Lawson, according to the school district's central office.

About 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Lawrence County deputies found three adults inside a mobile home at 15497 State Route 93 who had died from apparent gunshot wounds.

A fourth victim was found about a quarter of a mile north on State Route 93 at a relative’s residence, Sheriff Jeff Lawless said in a news release. This victim was suffering from apparent stab wounds to the neck and head and was flown by helicopter to Cabell Huntington Hospital. While at the residence, deputies learned Devin Holston, 7, also lived at the residence but had not been seen since earlier Wednesday.

Deputies conducted an extensive search of the area with the Lawrence County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. The search included the property in question, neighbors' houses, friends' and relatives' homes, and the wooded areas around the homes, but the boy was not located. The boy's name had been submitted to the National Crime Information Center as a missing endangered child. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was contacted and assisted deputies in the search for the boy. Fliers provided details about the boy's description.

Before he was recovered, authorities said Devin had last been seen Wednesday at the residence located at 15497 State Route 93. They said then there was reason to believe the boy could be in danger or injured.

Lawson was last seen by deputies on State Route 141 near County Route 52 driving a blue Chevrolet truck at about 12:30 a.m. and a pursuit ensued, the news release from the sheriff's office said. The suspect crashed the vehicle into a ditch on State Route 141 at County Route 44S and fled on foot into the woods. Police officers from all village agencies, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Ashland, Kentucky, Police Department, and the Huntington Police K9 unit assisted in the search for Lawson but did not find him. The vehicle was confiscated and will be processed for evidence, the release said.

The names of the victims are not being released at this time pending positive identification and notification of next of kin, Lawless said.

Anyone with information about Lawson is urged to contact the sheriff’s office by calling 740-532-3525 or dialing 911. If seen, do not attempt to approach Lawson, deputies advise. Contact local law enforcement immediately.

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