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Boy at triple-homicide scene found by officer who heard crying

September 6, 2011 |  8:23 pm

The post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom.

A 2-year-old boy was found at a triple-homicide scene in Banning by a police officer who heard the child crying, police said Tuesday evening.

The boy was bound and gagged inside a converted bathroom in the apartment in the 100 block of North Phillips Street, Banning Police Chief Leonard T. Purvis said. The child was uninjured and taken to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in Banning.

Purvis said the bodies of the parents -- a man and woman -- and another woman were found scattered in the apartment. He said investigators had not established a motive for the slayings but added that the slayings did not appear to be a murder-suicide.

"Obviously, this is a very heinous crime," Purvis told The Times. "This doesn't happen very often in any city."

Purvis said police did an initial "protective sweep" of the apartment but did not see the child in the room.

Around the same time, police said, they received reports that a suspect had fled in a vehicle, possibly with the boy.

"We thought that this child had been taken away from the scene," Purvis said.

He declined to say how the victims were killed, citing the ongoing investigation.

[For the record, 8:43 p.m., Aug. 6: An earlier version of this post said the boy was found after a forensic technician heard crying. Police Chief Leonard T. Purvis later said it was actually a police officer who found the boy.]



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— Robert J. Lopez (twitter.com/LAJourno) and Abby Sewell (twitter.com/@sewella)

Top photo: Banning police detectives at the scene. Bottom photo: Neighbors stand behind the police tape. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times