In what is being called a “horrific murder spree,” a Kentucky man armed with a gun murdered his parents, girlfriend and her mother at two separate locations in Johnson County before shooting himself. According to the State Police, they received a call about 4 p.m. local time on Feb.10, 2018 about a shootout at a rural home near Paintsville. On reaching the destination, the police discovered two bodies at the location. A second call led the police to an apartment in Paintsville where the police discovered three bodies, including one of the gunman, Joseph Nickell. While the bodies of parents, James and Arlene Nickell, were found in the kitchen of the rural home, the bodies of their son, his girlfriend Lindsey Vanhoose and her mother, Patricia Vanhoose were lying at the apartment in Paintsville.
According to Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price, though he has worked in law enforcement agency for 34 years, he never came across such a “horrific murder spree” in which four innocent lives were lost due to the “actions of one man.” Price called the multiple murder case a tough one. He added that while working on a murder is never an easy job, working on the murders of “four innocent people” who were part of one’s community is even tougher. In a Facebook post, he said, “This is one of the most disturbing acts of violence I have ever seen.”
Although the motive of the shooting is unclear and being investigated, as per the Nickell family pastor, James Kelly Caudill of the Tom’s Branch Free Will Baptist Church, the man struggled with drug addiction for years and had been through treatment. There was much love in the family and the pastor wasn’t aware of any animosity between the son and his parents. But Joseph seemed to have suffered a setback after the death of his sister some time ago.
As per Caudill, the brother never really got over his sister’s death and it just seemed to aggravate his addiction. He also shared that Nickell had attended the morning and evening services with his parents on Feb. 4, 2018, and he was “out of it” on some substance. He blurted out something unpleasant during the service and the mother had to calm him down.
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