Sheriff: Deaths of 2 kids, father likely caused by murder-suicide

Superintendent offers tips for parents; memorial funds established

Preble County’s sheriff and coroner offices are currently investigating the deaths of a father and two children in what they believe is a murder-suicide. On Jan. 24, deputies responded to a request for a welfare check in the 9200 block of Greenbush Road in Somerville, which is in Gratis Township on the county’s eastern edge. Deputies were advised by the children’s mother, who does not live at the residence, that they had not arrived that morning at Preble Shawnee Elementary and Middle School as normal. Further investigation determined that their father, Shane Elliott, 40, had not shown up at his place of employment, according to a news release from Sheriff Mike Simpson.

CDC: Video can help quickly eliminate gaps around masks for better protection

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated knowledge about masks in light of the more contagious Omicron variant. Experts say any mask worn is better than none, but well-fitting N95 masks are now widely available and offer the highest level of protection, followed by well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s. Gaps, which can be common with surgical masks, let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask.  Masks should fit snugly over the nose, mouth and chin without gaps along the side of the face or nose. Gaps can be caused by choosing the wrong size or type of mask and when a mask is worn with facial hair.

Looking for a testing or a vaccination site? Here are a few

Note: Some sites might be closed Monday, Jan. 17, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Making an appointment online or via phone is recommended to ensure the site is open. Testing

Wayne County Health Department: Free walk-in PCR tests for all (and rapid tests for those younger than 18 or 50-plus with symptoms) from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 601 E. Main St., Richmond; 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays at Nettle Creek Hardware, 485 E. Main St., Hagerstown; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursdays at Northeastern schools, 7299 U.S. 27 N., Fountain City; and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays at Golay Community Center, 1007 E. Main St., Cambridge City. Note: WCHD is closed Monday, Jan. 17, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Henry Community Health: Drive-thru tests at 1007 N. 16th St., New Castle.

Sheriff: Fatal Hagerstown shooting not a random act

A man has been found dead in rural Hagerstown and it’s believed that he was acquainted with the person who shot him, police said. “This does not appear to be a random act and there is no known threat to the community,” said Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter a few hours after the Wednesday, Jan. 12 incident. An immediate investigation revealed that the shooting reported just after 3 p.m. was an isolated incident, he said. Deputies from Wayne County Sheriff’s Office responded to Treaty Line Road near Teetor Road, which is southeast of Hagerstown.  That area is just west of Indiana 1.

5 taken to hospital for evaluation after car hits school bus in Cambridge City

Four Western Wayne Schools students were taken to Reid Health after a car collided into their school bus. The auto’s driver told investigators that her windshield was frosted over, and she didn’t see the bus, said Wayne County Sheriff Randy Retter. The crash occurred the morning of Jan. 11 at the intersection of North Graham and Delaware streets in Cambridge City. Tonya Mills, 55, of New Castle, was driving southbound from the parking lot at Stone Gate Apartments, 301 N. Graham St., when she struck the center of the westbound bus with her 2013 Chrysler 200, a news release said.

Man accused of conspiracy to kill wife with poison

A rural Wayne County man has been arrested on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder after allegedly poisoning his wife. Alfred Ruf, 69, has been lodged in Wayne County Jail on the Level 2 felony charge. Ruf’s arrest was announced Friday by Sheriff Randy Retter. Wayne Circuit Court Judge April Drake issued a probable cause order on Jan. 5 for the felony charge and set Ruf’s bail at $75,000 with 10 percent cash authorized.

Security image released after Richmond store robbery

Richmond Police Department has shared a security camera image of the suspect in a convenience store robbery in hopes of finding the suspect. At about 7:03 a.m. Friday, Jan. 7, first-shift patrol officers responded to a reported robbery in the 1200 block of South Ninth Street. Capt. Curt Leverton said the suspect is reported as a white male approximately 6’0” tall. He was wearing black pants, a black jacket with a gray hood, and light-colored shoes.

State brings 4-day testing, vaccine team to Wayne County Fairgrounds

National Guard members and Indiana Department of Health staff have begun arriving in Wayne County to aid with a surge of COVID-19 illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths as hospitals struggle to treat patients for other urgent health needs. Henry Community Health officials say the “never-ending COVID nightmare continues to worsen” as Indiana hospitals set records for their numbers of patients. In addition, some patients who delayed primary care for other health issues as the pandemic lingers are now critically ill, HCH officials said. National Guard members are being stationed at Reid Health to assist with staffing shortages, and what the state calls a strike team will bring a free mobile testing and vaccination site starting Wednesday, Jan. 5 to Richmond’s west side for any area resident.

16-year-old boy found safe after Silver Alert issued

Richmond Police Department says a teen was found safe after a statewide Silver Alert was issued. RPD announced an investigation into the disappearance of David Burton, a 16-year-old white male, on Dec. 29. He had been last seen in Richmond at approximately 10:40 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 25.

Sheriff: Scooter driver struck by SUV dies from injuries

A Richmond scooter operator died after colliding with a sport utility vehicle on U.S. 27, police said. Just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a motor vehicle crash in the 3700 block of Chester Boulevard in Richmond. Deputies were initially told that the crash involved a motorcycle, and a person was laying in the middle of the roadway, Sheriff Randy Retter said in a news release. The preliminary investigation determined that Charles Stephenson, 46, of Richmond, was operating a Tao scooter southbound on U.S. 27 in the driving lane.