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Home  >  Topics  >  Investigations

July 09, 2003
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School Vice Principal Turns Himself in After Family Found Slain

BRIAN SKOLOFF, Associated Press

BAKERSFIELD, California (AP) -- An elementary school vice principal wanted for questioning in the shooting deaths of his estranged wife, mother-in-law and three young children turned himself in early Wednesday in North Carolina.

The FBI and law enforcement agencies across the country had been asked to search for Vincent Brothers, 41, after police discovered the bodies Tuesday in a home in Bakersfield.

Police Sgt. Rick Pureza in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, said Brothers turned himself in Wednesday just after midnight.

Bakersfield Police Capt. Neil Mahan said Brothers is being treated as "a possible suspect" and that police had no other suspects in the slayings.

"That does not mean we are not looking at other people or other motives at this time," Mahan said. "Mr. Brothers is our primary focus at this time. It is important to either confirm or deny that he is involved."

Brothers' blue pickup truck was found Tuesday at an airport bus terminal in Bakersfield. Mahan said the truck had been there since July 2 _ four days before the family was last seen.

Mahan refused to discuss evidence in the case, but said Brothers was a possible suspect due to witness accounts. He said police do not have the weapon used and that there are no weapons registered to Brothers.

The victims were identified as Joanie Harper, 39; her three children, Marques Harper, 4, Lyndsey Harper, 23 months, and Marshall Harper, 1 1/2 months; and Harper's mother, Earnestine Harper, 70.

Joanie Harper and Brothers were granted an annulment in September 2001 and Harper was given sole custody of Marques and Lyndsey, court records show. But police, relatives and friends all said Wednesday they thought Harper and Brothers were still married. It was unclear whether they had remarried.

Brothers is the father of the children and had periodically lived with the family, said Darren Dixon, 22, a nephew of Earnestine Harper.

Police were called to the home on Tuesday morning. The bodies of Joanie Harper and her three children were found in a bedroom; Earnestine Harper was in another room.

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The family was last seen alive Sunday morning at church.

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