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Mother, 2 kids found shot in SUV connected to 4th killing

EASLEY, S.C. (AP) — A mother and her two children were found shot dead inside a locked and running SUV in South Carolina by police, who were searching for the vehicle in connection with a fatal shooting two hours earlier, authorities said.

A broken marriage appeared to connect the four deaths in Thursday’s shootings, said Pickens County Chief Deputy Creed Hashe. The chief deputy didn’t elaborate further and declined to say if someone in the SUV was a suspect in the first killing.

Green Police Chief Ken Thomas said a woman was shot dead about 5 p.m. Thursday in a parking garage in that city’s downtown. Thomas said investigators were looking for a 36-year-old woman he did not name and that they were worried there might be children in harm’s way. The Greenville County Coroner’s office later identified the victim as Meredith Rahme, 28.

Less than two hours later, Pickens County deputies found the SUV the officers were looking for in connection with Rahme’s death, according to Hashe. It was located about 7 miles (11 kilometers) away in Easley with its doors locked and its engine running.

Hashe called it a “graphic and horrific” scene. All three people in the SUV were shot once in the head or neck and a .40-caliber handgun was found inside, the chief deputy said.

Coroner Kandy Kelley identified them as 36-year-old Jessica Edens, 9-year-old Hayden King and 5-year-old Harper Edens. Neither she nor Hashe would say who might have fired the fatal shots.

The two children have different fathers, and one of the youngsters was with Jessica Edens’ estranged husband, authorities said.

“I ask people at home to pray for them,” Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark said. “This is will shatter a family — tear them apart.”

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