An Indiana college employee believed to be behind the "horrific" slayings of his niece and her 4-year-old son was found dead of an apparent suicide, authorities said.
Lucius "Lu" Oliver Hamilton III was found at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Indianapolis Wednesday afternoon. Police attempted to make contact with Hamilton in his room, but he was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Boone County Sheriff's office.
Authorities believe Hamilton is connected to the killings of his 31-year-old niece, Katherine Janet Giehll, and her 4-year-old son, Raymond Peter Giehll IV, according to police.
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Both victims were found shot to death inside a Zionsville home just before 9 a.m., police said. Authorities believe the motive for the murders was "strictly for financial gain from a family trust."
"Through many investigative techniques, we were able track Hamilton down to a specific location in downtown Indianapolis where he cowardly took his life instead of choosing to face justice for his actions," Sheriff Michael Nielsen said. "My heart goes out to the Giehll family and to the first responders that witnessed this horrific scene.”
The murders prompted a multi-agency hunt for Hamilton, who was last known to be driving a van checked out from Wabash College, where Hamilton worked, according to authorities. He was last seen on campus that same morning.
“In my 32 years of law enforcement I have never witnessed a crime so heinous and heartbreaking," Nielsen said in an earlier statement.
Students and faculty at the school were ordered to shelter in place and classes were canceled as police scoured the campus earlier Wednesday. Hamilton is listed as a senior major gifts officer on the school's faculty website.
The university urged Wabash College students and staff to stay indoors around noon Wednesday at the request of Crawfordsville police, who began raiding all buildings on campus. Multiple officers could be seen canvassing the area. The shelter in place warning was lifted shortly before 2:30 p.m.
"It became apparent this was serious when the dean addressed the students," said freshman Kaleb Hobgood.
Daniel Craig, a senior at the school, told NBC 5 he had been huddled in the school's library for more than two hours with hundreds of other students.
"The cops are going around evacuating each building, going into search and then clearing it and making sure Lou Hamilton is not there," Craig said.
Crawfordsville is about 50 miles northwest of Indianapolis.
"It’s disappointing," Hobgood said. "You see this stuff on the news all the time but you never really think it can happen to people close to the facility... It just makes it a little more close to home to know that it’s somebody we’ve been around every day."