West Chester police search apartment in connection to Sunday homicides, leave without arrest

Posted at 4:26 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-04 00:20:50-04

WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Investigators who executed the first search warrant in connection to the Sunday night shooting deaths of four family members emerged from the effort with boxes and bags of evidence but no suspect in hand.

The SWAT vans and patrol cars that had accumulated around Autumn Woods Lane, where officers searched a condominium and a car, arrived around 4 p.m. and were gone by 7. Officers did not publicly disclose who or what they had been searching for.

Lisa Rapp, who lives in the condo complex, said she didn’t need them to.

“I immediately thought something was connected to the murders that just took place,” she said.

Food was still cooking on the stove Sunday night when police discovered the bodies of Hakiakat Singh Pannag and his three female family members — 62-year-old Parmjit Kaur, 58-year-old Amarjit Kaur and 39-year-old Shalinderjit Kaur — inside their Wyndtree Drive apartment, almost exactly a mile from Rapp’s home. The victims had been shot to death within minutes of each other, according to the office of Butler County Coroner Lisa Mannix, and each had been shot more than once.

All four victims were Sikhs and at least one had recently come to the United States on a visit from India. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs announced Tuesday the incident did not appear to be a hate crime.

So what was it? The opacity of both the motive and investigation have inspired anxiety in Rapp, who said she no longer allows her 15-year-old son to walk home from school, and neighbors like her, including longtime Autumn Woods Lane resident Kerry Hendel.

"It shook us up because we care about our community so much, and we care about the family that it happened to, and what we really just want is for this case to be solved,” she said.

She added she couldn’t remember anything like Friday’s search happening at the condo complex since she moved there in 2011.