BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A man who told authorities "My whole family's dead!" in a frantic 911 call was charged Friday with killing the eight people attacked in his family's mobile home in coastal Georgia.
Guy Heinze Jr., 22, was arrested Friday on eight counts of first-degree murder in the slayings last weekend at a mobile home park a few miles north of Brunswick, a port city midway between Savannah and Jacksonville, Fla. Among those killed were seven of Heinze's relatives.
Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering would not say what evidence led police to charge Heinze, who was returned to the county jail Friday less than two hours after his release on bond on lesser charges.
The chief also declined to say whether police think Heinze acted alone or with others.
"Right now, I don't know," Doering said. "I do know he's involved... I would have not allowed him to be arrested if I was not comfortable with that."
Doering said he wasn't sure Heinze was responsible for the deaths until late Friday afternoon when two new pieces of evidence became available, but he wouldn't say what they were.
In the call to emergency dispatchers early Aug. 29, Heinze said he'd come home to find the bodies and that it appeared the victims had been beaten to death. Seven were found dead at the scene, an eighth died at a hospital, and the attack's only survivor remained hospitalized after being critically injured.
"It's the most heinous crime we've ever had in this community," said Doering, who insists that revealing details about the slayings could jeopardize the investigation.
Police haven't released causes of death for the victims. But Doering identified the lone survivor as 3-year-old Byron Jimmerson Jr., the son of one of the slain women.
Hours after the bodies were found, Heinze was charged with evidence tampering, lying to police and drug possession, but police didn't say until Friday that they suspected him of the killings. The arrest warrant for the evidence tampering charge says Heinze admitted removing a shotgun from the home and trying to hide it from police in the trunk of his car. He told police he thought the gun was stolen.
Heinze was arrested Friday as family members of the slain victims gathered for a funeral home visitation the night before they were to be buried Saturday.
The dead included the suspect's father, Guy Heinze Sr., 45; his uncle, Rusty Toler Sr., 44; and his aunt Brenda Gail Falagan, 49. Also slain were Toler Sr.'s four children – Chrissy Toler, 22; Russell D. Toler Jr., 20; Michael Toler, 19; and Michelle Toler, 15.
Chrissy Toler's boyfriend, Joseph L. West, 30, was also killed and her 3-year-old son was hospitalized.
A phone message left for Heinze Jr.'s attorney, Ron Harrison, was not immediately returned. Harrison said earlier this week that Heinze denied any part in the killings.
Clint Rowe, who has been acting as a spokesman for the family, said he learned of the arrests while at a public visitation for the victims, saying it was "definitely a surprise."
"I'm floored right now," Rowe, who is an uncle to the Toler children, said from the funeral home. "But right now it's just an arrest. We have to see where this thing takes us so I'm going to keep my mouth shut until the Glynn County Police Department informs us of more."
The manager of the New Hope Plantation mobile home park where the slayings occurred said the arrest still leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
"I'm feeling just like everyone else is right now, we're all shocked," said Gail Montgomery. "We don't know what any of the circumstances are. We don't know if there was more than one or if it was him by himself."
Associated Press Writer Desiree Hunter in Montgomery, Ala., contributed to this report.