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Police: Suspect in 4 West Virginia killings knew victims

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Posted at 7:46 AM, Dec 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-02 07:46:21-05

(CNN) — Jody Lee Hunt, the West Virginia man suspected of killing four people in Monongalia County before taking his own life, didn’t appear to randomly select his victims, authorities say.

“Mr. Hunt did know each of these victims and we do have some key pieces of evidence that do point to him as being the suspect, including his social media traffic as well,” Lt. Michael Baylous with West Virginia State Police told CNN Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE. “We have an idea why this may have occurred, but we’re not in a position where we’re ready to release this as of yet.”

Police found Hunt’s body in the woods of northeast West Virginia late Monday following a daylong manhunt. It appears he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“They did discover a truck that matched the truck’s description that we were looking for, and inside they found a white male who matched the description of Mr. Hunt,” Baylous said.

Authorities identified three of the victims as Doug Brady, Sharon Berkshire and Michael Frum, WTAE reported. Brady was shot outside his auto shop, Doug’s Towing, in Westover. Berkshire and Frum both were killed at a home east of Morgantown.

Family members told WTAE that Berkshire was Hunt’s onetime girlfriend.

Family members of the fourth victim identified him as 43-year-old Jody Taylor, a cousin of the suspect, according to the affiliate. The two had operated a towing business together called J&J Towing, according to the victim’s mother, Cassandra Taylor.

She said her son received a call Monday morning outside their home telling him about the shooting at Brady’s auto shop.

“I heard a shot. Three of them went off [before] I could get to the door,” Taylor told WTAE. “I said ‘Jody! you OK Jody?'”

Taylor said she saw the killer standing over her son’s body.

“And I said, ‘Sir, what are you doing?’ And he finished shooting and he took off in his truck,” she said. “Didn’t look up at me or nothing.”

CNN’s Janet DiGiacomo, Jennifer Moore and Karan Olson contributed to this report.