LEOLA, PA. - Police arrested a man Thursday in the gruesome killing of six relatives in his grandmother's home, where four of the bodies were found wrapped in blankets in the basement, and blood, bone fragments and a hammer were discovered upstairs, authorities said.
Jesse Dee Wise, 21, whose grandparents owned the home, was charged with six counts of homicide, police said.
The victims were killed last weekend and apparently died of multiple traumatic injuries, police said. According to a search warrant affidavit, at least one had an obvious head wound.
Wise's 64-year-old grandmother, Emily Wise; two of her daughters; two of her grandchildren, ages 5 and 19; and a 17-year-old relative were identified as the victims, said East Lampeter Township police Chief John Bowman.
The discovery of the bodies in the three-story house in Leola, a small village in Lancaster County's rural Amish country, followed a phone call from Emily Wise's husband to a friend asking him to check on his family.
Jessie L. Wise, 60, was in New York and became worried because he hadn't heard from his wife since Friday, authorities said.
The friend, John Sean Adams, 24, met the first officer at the house.
When they went inside, Adams stopped halfway down the basement steps and yelled, "They're all dead! All six of them are dead!" the affidavit stated.
Four of the bodies were found wrapped in sheets and blankets in the basement, one at the bottom of the steps wrapped in a comforter secured with a phone cord, the affidavit stated. Police also found dark marks that looked like blood on the walls and ceiling of two third-floor bedrooms. The beds had been stripped of sheets and blankets.
Police had received three calls about the house on Main Street, the first around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. The person called back a few minutes later to cancel the request for help, then called again at 2:05 p.m., according to the affidavit.
The affidavit does not identify the caller. It said Adams met East Lampeter Township police Officer Samuel Sanger at the home.
According to the search warrant, police were searching the property for fingerprints, weapons, a hammer and phone cord, as well as anything wrapped around the victim's necks. They were also seeking personal effects and financial information related to the victims.