Four victims identified in Butler Twp. shooting; FBI manhunt continues: What we know today

Manhunt for Stephen Marlow, who was named a person of interest, ends late Saturday.

BULLETIN: The suspect in the killings of four Butler Twp. residents on Friday was captured late Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas, police said. Here is the latest story on his capture.

EARLER STORY: Police today continue to investigate the shooting of four people in a Butler Twp. neighborhood on Friday as they look for the man named a person of interest in the case.

Here’s what we know today:

--- Police cruisers and a trailer with cameras remain in the neighborhood around Hardwicke Place and Haverstraw Avenue. The Butler Twp. Police Department is leading the investigation with the help of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

--- Police are looking for Stephen Marlow, who was named the person of interest in the shooting. He is a white male, 39 years old and approximately 5′11″, 160 pounds with short brown hair and was last seen wearing shorts and a yellow t-shirt. Marlow is believed to have fled the area in a white 2007 Ford Edge SUV bearing Ohio license plate JES9806.

He is considered armed and dangerous.

In a statement today from the Butler Twp. police, they said Marlow may have fled Ohio.

--- At a 6 p.m. Saturday press conference, Butler Twp. Chief Porter said, “I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the families who lost loved ones yesterday. This has been a difficult time for all of us in the community and surrounding areas. All of us here at the Butler Twp. Police Department, as well as all of our local state and federal partners here today are working continuously to provide justice for all of the victims and their families. The victims families have been notified and victim specialists are working with them to provide resources and support.

He said Marlow remained the primary suspect in the shooting. They believe following the shooting he traveled west on Intestate 70.

Porter said police are aware that Marlow released a video on the internet some time after the shooting where he discussed why he shot the four people. He said dozens have been interviewed about Marlow.

“We understand the ideas and languages in the video are startling. And that is why our investigators are working around the clock to ensure Mr. Marlow is brought into custody,” Porter said.

Porter said he had a message for Marlow, “I want you to know that we want to help you. You have the ability resolve the situation peacefully if you turn yourself into law enforcement as soon as possible. Again, we want to end this peacefully. Now is the right time to call 911 and turn yourself in.”

--- Porter said killed in the shooting were Clyde Knox, 82, Eva Knox, 78, Sarah Anderson, 41, and a Kayla Anderson, 15. The Knox couple was killed in their home and the Andersons were killed in a separate home.

Vandalia school superintendent Robert O’Leary said the district has provided counselors and therapists for students and their families and will continue this through next week.

“Yesterday we tragically lost a member of the aviator family and our hearts prayers and supports are with the Anderson family. Kayla’s friends, her classmates and all of our students. In the words of those who knew her best Kayla was a friend to many. She was kind and as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. She was a ray of light.”

“Our priority right now is for that light to live through all of us. And we will focus our efforts in bringing that beauty, that joy and love to all of our students and our staff and the entire community. Yesterday I was able to make a phone call to the leaders of our faith community. Our staff was able to reach out to Samaritan behavior. And we had pastors, youth ministers and therapists available in about 30 minutes time sort of go out to provide supports for students who were very close to Kayla.”

On Saturday, students and parents gathered at the high school to remember Kayla, who was described as a “special student who made others smile.”

--- The FBI is helping with the investigation as Marlow could have crossed state lines. In a statement on Twitter, the FBI said: The #FBI and Butler Twp. Police are searching for Stephen Marlow, a person of interest in multiple shootings today. He was last seen in a white 2007 Ford Edge with Ohio license plate JES 9806. Call 937-233-2080, 1-800-Call-FBI or with info.

--- Wanda Pence has lived in her Hardwicke home, located across the street from where two of the shootings took place, since the 1970s. She told the Dayton Daily News today she’s always felt safe in her neighborhood.

“People don’t even run stop signs in this neighborhood,” she said. “You hear all the time on the news, ‘Oh this is a really quiet neighborhood, nothing ever happens here.’ But it’s the truth; nothing ever happens here. I’m just shocked.”

Pence said while she’s not particularly close with her surrounding neighbors, everyone is friendly when they see each other outside.

“It’s just very disheartening that this happened here,” she said. “We’ll just have to process this. It’s certainly going to affect the neighborhood and give it a different feel.”

--- One nearby neighbor who declined to give his name on Saturday said he has lived in the neighborhood for over three decades.

Visibly upset, the man said he and his wife had offered up their home as an area for victim’s families to gather in the immediate aftermath of the shootings.

The man said he did not know the alleged shooter but that he’d recently heard there were what seemed to be minor issues with Marlow and other neighbors, including residents on Hardwicke Place.

“He’d holler at them and say, ‘Keep the noise down, you’re too noisy in this neighborhood,’” the man said, noting that he’d didn’t personally witness Marlow yelling, but had heard this from others in the neighborhood. “They said he did that all the time, he’d holler at you if you were outside.”

--- Marlow has connections to Chicago, where he lived for some time; Lexington, where he attended college; and Indianapolis, the FBI said.

Marlow graduated from Butler High School in 2001 and graduated from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, according to background check obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

He lived and worked in Chicago as a trader from 2006 to 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile. He most recently lived with his parents on Haverstraw Avenue, one of the streets where a part of the shooting took place, police said.

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

--- Butler Twp. police said they do not think there is an ongoing threat to the neighborhood.

--- The city of Vandalia have closed a number of public areas in the city out of caution as Stephen Marlow, 39, remains at large. In a statement the city said, the Recreation Center and all outdoor activities, as well as Cassel Hills Golf Course, Cassel Hills Pool and the Vandalia Senior Citizens Center will also be closed Saturday.

These closures are being implemented solely as a precaution, as there have been no known targeted threats towards any City facility.

Vandalia residents will see an increased police presence this evening and tomorrow, and City leaders will continually evaluate the situation and make any necessary adjustments.

--- A prayer event has been organized in the community and will be held at 5 p.m. Monday in the Butler High School parking lot. The event is meant to show a message of hope, strength, love and support amid the recent tragedy, according to a Facebook post by the City of Vandalia.

--- Neighbors are in shock about the shooting. Wendy Chapman lives next door to one of the Hardwicke Place houses wrapped with crime scene tape. “I don’t know how to feel. I’m still stunned,” she said, describing the neighborhood as “so quiet. … At this point, I’m pissed. I feel violated. My question is why. I can’t even imagine.”

Our previous story:

Four people were shot and killed late Friday morning in a quiet neighborhood in Butler Twp., and police said Friday afternoon they were seeking a person of interest in connection with the crime.

PHOTOS: Police investigate shooting in Butler Township

Butler Twp. Police Chief John Porter said officers were dispatched to the area of Hardwicke Place and Haverstraw Avenue around 11:45 a.m. and located “multiple crime scenes” and four victims with gunshot wounds. All four people died at the scene.

The chief identified 39-year-old Stephen Marlow as a person of interest in the deaths. Police described him as a 5-foot-11, 160-pound white male with short brown hair. He was last seen wearing shorts and a yellow T-shirt, and Porter said he was possibly driving a white 2007 Ford Edge SUV with Ohio license plate JES-9806.

Two homes were surrounded by crime scene tape near the intersection of Hardwicke and Haverstraw. One of the homes, in the 7200 block of Hardwicke, shares part of a back fence with a house in the 2600 block of Haverstraw that is owned by a Marlow family, according to county property records.

“If anyone sees (Stephen) Marlow or knows of the vehicle, they should call 911 immediately and not approach him, as he is likely to be armed and dangerous,” Porter said. “We don’t believe that there is any ongoing threat to the neighborhood at this time, but we will continue to have crews in the area in case Marlow would return.”

The names of the victims have not been released, and it is not clear what led to the shooting.

“We are working to determine if there is any motive to this horrible tragedy or if mental illness played any role,” Porter said.

A man at the scene of Friday’s shootings would not give his name, but said his daughter and granddaughter were killed in the shootings.

The Butler Twp. neighborhood where the shooting happened sits about a mile west of the Miller Lane development, just south of Little York Road.

“This is the first violent crime in this neighborhood in recent memory,” Porter said.

Wendy Chapman lives next door to one of the Hardwicke Place houses wrapped with crime scene tape.

“I don’t know how to feel. I’m still stunned,” she said, describing the neighborhood as “so quiet. … At this point, I’m pissed. I feel violated. My question is why. I can’t even imagine.”

She described her neighbors — a couple and their daughter — as a “nice, normal family.”

“We weren’t close but always very friendly. Their teen daughter, she was friendly,” Chapman said. “We’d always see them out there when we were out there cutting grass and always (talk) back and forth. You know … just neighbor stuff.”

Porter encouraged residents in the area to remain vigilant and to review any security camera footage they may have from earlier Friday.

“We ask that anyone with any possible information regarding this incident or the whereabouts of Marlow to call our dispatch center at 937-233-2080.”

Marlow, 39, of Haverstraw Avenue, was convicted of aggravated burglary and aggravated menacing in February 2020, stemming from a July 2019 incident in Vandalia. He was sentenced to five years of community control but that probation was terminated Feb. 9, according to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court records.

Porter said Butler Twp. police were getting support from Vandalia police and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, as well as state and federal officials. He said the Dayton Bomb Squad was brought in as “an abundance of caution” to ensure there are no further imminent threats to the normally quiet neighborhood.

A man who identified himself as a relative said his daughter and granddaughter were dead inside one of the houses. The man, who did not give his name, had come from inside a section of the crime scene tape where others had gathered to learn what happened.

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