The Latest: Wisconsin sheriff draws parallel with Closs case

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A Lake Hallie Police officer works outside a home Monday, July 29, 2019, in Lake Hallie, Wis., following a shooting the night before. Authorities in northwestern Wisconsin say shootings at two homes have left five people dead, including the suspected shooter, and two others injured. (Renee Jones Schneider/Star Tribune via AP)

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on the slayings of four people in weekend attacks at two homes in Wisconsin (all times local):

12:55 p.m.

Authorities in Wisconsin say a man suspected of killing four people may have been imitating the abduction last year of teenager Jayme Closs.

Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk said Tuesday that investigators may never know exactly what led to the Sunday attacks. He says Ritchie German Jr. killed three of his family members and later killed a 24-year-old woman at another home before killing himself.

Kowalczyk says German used a shotgun to blast his way into the woman’s home, and then shot and wounded her parents. Authorities also say German left his car running with items inside that suggested similarities to the Closs case.

They wouldn’t elaborate on those items.

Chief Deputy Chad Holum says if abduction was intended, “it did not work out for him.”

Jayme Closs was abducted from her parents’ home last fall in Barron, just 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the site of the most recent slayings. Jayme’s parents were killed, but she eventually escaped from her abductor.

___

11:43 a.m.

A Wisconsin sheriff says a man suspected in the weekend killings of four people exchanged texts with one of the victims — a woman who apparently didn’t know him.

Chippewa County Sheriff James Kowalczyk (koh-WAHL’-chik) says investigators believe 34-year-old Ritchie German Jr. carried out the Sunday attacks at two homes.

Kowalczyk told The Associated Press on Tuesday that investigators believe German fatally shot his mother, brother and brother’s 8-year-old son at their home in Lafayette before going to a home in nearby Lake Hallie and killing a 24-year-old woman and wounding her parents. German was found dead there, but authorities haven’t said whether he killed himself.

Kowalczyk says German had texted the 24-year-old woman inquiring about a personal relationship, but she texted back saying she didn’t know him.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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