SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A police officer and his wife were found stabbed to death Monday in their coastal neighborhood, where investigators detained a teenager and charged him with felony murder in the slayings.
Police believe the 16-year-old suspect is the slain woman’s brother and that he had been living with his sister and her husband, a Savannah police officer, Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley told a news conference.
He said the teenager was charged with two counts of felony murder.
“It’s a rough day in Chatham County for law enforcement,” Hadley said.
Officers were called to the neighborhood on Wilmington Island, a few miles (kilometers) east of Savannah, at about 6:30 a.m. Monday, county police said in a news release. They found the slain officer dead at a neighbor’s house, and his wife’s body at their home next door. Both victims appeared to have been stabbed.
Investigators suspect both victims were attacked inside their home, Hadley said, and the officer died after fleeing next door to try to get help.
Investigators found the teen suspect at the scene and took him into custody for questioning. Hadley announced that he had been charged Monday afternoon, several hours after the bodies were discovered.
Authorities identified the suspect as 16-year-old Michael Barber. The Savannah Regional Youth Detention Center confirmed Barber was being held there Monday, the Savannah Morning News reported.
Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap said Barber was being charged as an adult, which Georgia law requires for any murder charge regardless of the defendant’s age. It was not immediately known if Barber had an attorney. His first court appearance was scheduled for Tuesday.
Police did not immediately release the names of the victims, saying relatives were still being notified.
Asked if police were aware of any previous problems at the victims’ home, Hadley said officers had responded to “some type of domestic situation” there several weeks ago. But he had no further details.