Motive released in 5 Manchester deaths

Two young children who were shot to death in Manchester, Ill., are identified as Nolan J. Ralston, 5, and Brantley Ralston, 1. (photos of 2 kids killed in Manchester, Ill.)
May 3, 2013 1:36:21 PM PDT
Illinois State Police officials have released investigative findings into the Manchester homicides where five victims were found shot at a home April 24.

Victim Brittney Luark, 23, was pregnant. The shooting took place at 19 East Street in Manchester. Winchester police and Illinois State Police later located the fleeing suspect, Rick O. Smith, 43, of rural Morgan County. Smith was fatally shot during a shootout with police.

ISP said none of the victims was related to Smith. Illinois State Police investigators were able to develop a timeline of Smith's activities leading up to the shootings.

Police say Smith planned his attack due to a dispute between himself involving the custody of his 3-year-old daughter. The Morgan County Sheriff's Department also confirmed that on March 27, the office facilitated an exchange of custody for Smith's daughter and her mother, Rita Luark, which occurred without incident. Smith said he believed that Rita Luark's relatives were interfering with their custody dispute. `

Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Daws Family Funeral Home in Roodhouse, Ill.

James Roy Ralston, 29, and Brittney Luark, their children - 5-year-old Nolan Ralston and 1-year-old Brantley Ralston - and Luark's grandmother, Jo Ann Sinclair, were killed in the small town of about 300 about 50 miles west of Springfield.

A 6-year-old girl, Kassidy Ralston, survived the shootings.

Rita Luark and Smith's daughter live at a different address and were not among the victims of the April 24 shooting in Manchester.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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