BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The man who reported the gruesome slayings of seven people in a Georgia mobile home faces charges of lying to police and tampering with evidence, and authorities said Sunday they haven't ruled him out as a suspect in the killings.
The killer was not among the dead, whose bodies were found Saturday, or the two critically injured, said Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering, who said police have not spoken to the two who are hospitalized.
Guy Heinze Jr., 22, was arrested late Saturday and also faces charges of illegal possession of prescription drugs and marijuana, said Doering.
"He was a family member who came home and discovered (the victims), at least that's what he told us," Doering said.
Asked if Heinze was involved in the slayings, Doering said: "I'm not going to rule him out, but I'm not going to characterize him as a suspect."
Police have not released the victims' names, though some were in their teens, or said how they died in the home on an old plantation, nestled among centuries-old, moss-draped oak trees in coastal southeast Georgia. Doering defended his vague statements about the case, saying he didn't want the public to know details that might compromise what he called a "tedious" investigation.
"We just simply don't have a lot to go on," Doering said. "I'm not going to tell people not to be cautious. Until we know exactly what happened and who did it, that's not going to change."
Mary Strickland, who owns The Georgia Pig, a popular local barbecue place said people have been buzzing about the killings and mainly want to know what happened.
"I think a lot of people who live in that area would feel a lot better if they had a little more information," Strickland said. "If it is a murder-suicide then let people know so they don't think there's some lunatic out there. We got a lot of people who panic and the more information you put out there, the better you make them feel."
Sandra Gause, who lives in another mobile home park about a mile from the crime scene, said she's been paying extra attention since the slayings to cars and people she doesn't know coming into her neighborhood.
"It just makes you wonder how safe your community really is," said Gause, 36, after buying a pack of cigarettes at a nearby convenience store. "What is going on? Two or three days later, we'd kind of like to know."
Toni Mugavin, who also lives near the mobile home park, criticized police for giving vague information. She said the killings have left her wondering "do I need to keep a gun under my pillow?"
"Even my husband said, 'They don't give the community any sense of security,' and he's a retired police officer," said Mugavin, 50. "There's no manhunt, no suspect. Was it a murder-suicide? There's nothing specific they're telling us."
The chief said police are certain they know what happened, but don't know who committed the slayings or why, saying "it's not a scene that I would want anybody to see."
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation began conducting autopsies Sunday. GBI spokesman John Bankhead said results would be released by Glynn County police, and Doering refused to comment, saying it could take two or three days for autopsies to be completed.
Investigators spent a second day Sunday scouring for new evidence at the home, where an old boat sat in the front yard. Officers on all-terrain vehicles searched roadsides within two miles of the mobile home park for evidence, without success.
The 1,100-acre mobile home park is all that remains of a Crown grant made in 1763 to Henry Laurens, who later succeeded John Hancock as president of the Continental Congress in 1777.
Laurens obtained control of the South Altamaha river lands and named it New Hope Plantation, according to the plantation's Web site.
Associated Press Writer Dionne Walker in Atlanta contributed to this report.