Man arrested could have ties to 5 murders and attempted robbery

Wanda English Burnett

E Five people from Franklin County are dead with a possible “person of interest” being held in the Ripley County Jail.

Names have finally been released on the five people who were murdered in Franklin County on Sunday, September 25. Initially, police were very cautious in releasing any information, including the names of the deceased.

The autopsies are all now completed with police calling it a murder investigation. Police have said the person or persons responsible for the murders are not among the deceased.

The preliminary autopsy reports revealed:

Angela A. Napier, 47, died from a gunshot wound to the head area and blunt force trauma to the head area. Her estranged husband, Roy D. Napier, 50, died from a gunshot wound to the head area; their son, Jacob L. Napier, 18, died from a gunshot wound to the head as well and their daughter, Melissa L. Napier, 23, died also from a gunshot wound to the head. The family died at their home in Laurel.

A neighbor, Henry X. Smith, 43, also died from a gunshot wound to the chest area and possible blunt force trauma to his head. He was found in a different location.

Of course, the exact cause of death for each person will not be determined until all aspects of the autopsies are completed, which could take up to six weeks.

While it is not known the exact relationship between the person being held at the Ripley County Jail, David Ison, and the deceased, authorities say they believe he is also connected to an attempted robbery earlier this year at Triplett’s Pharmacy in Osgood.

According to Ripley Publishing Co. files on May 9 a man came into the pharmacy, went directly behind the pharmacy counter where the pharmacist was speaking on the phone. The attempted robber ripped the phone out of the wall. A struggle ensued between the assailant and the pharmacist with the attempted robber brandishing a handgun and breaking out a window to the pharmacy area.

This same man could have ties to the five murdered people in Franklin County and authorities believe it could all be drug related.

A small child who lived at the Napier residence tipped off a passer-by that there were dead bodies in the Laurel home after the child was found wandering down a county road on Sunday.

Police have been careful in releasing information about the murders as they are making sure everything gets investigated thoroughly as they go along.

Anyone with information on the murders are asked to contact the ISP at 689-5000.

While authorities say they are fairly confident Ison is connected to the murders they are still looking into the possibility there are others involved.

David Ison