PIKE COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — A Pike County student has been arrested after authorities say he killed his older brother and wrote a kill list that included other family members.

An investigation began on Tuesday, October 3, after the Pike County Sheriff’s Office was called to a home in the Banks community after a father had found his 17-year-old son shot to death in their backyard.

When deputies arrived on the scene, they were told by the teen’s father that the 17-year-old had been missing since Monday, October 2, but had not reported it to law enforcement.

According to Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas, while interviewing the victim’s 14-year-old brother, he confessed to shooting the 17-year-old while sitting on the couch on Monday.

He (14-year-old) stated his brother got up and staggered out of the residence and out the back door, where he then fell at the bottom of the steps.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas

Sheriff Thomas says the 14-year-old dragged his brother’s body 60 yards to the back of the property, where it was later found, and that no one else was home at the time of the incident.

Directly before the brother’s body was found Tuesday afternoon, Pike County High School called the father to pick up the 14-year-old because he was upset about his missing brother. Upon returning home, the father and the 14-year-old began looking for the brother. They found the body soon after.

Pike County District Attorney James Tarbox says that before the body’s discovery, the 14-year-old confided to a friend at school what he had done to his brother. Investigators say he then asked his friend to help him murder the rest of his family and bury their bodies. This was revealed to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office the next day, Wednesday, October 4.

DA Tarbox tells WDHN that after this was revealed to law enforcement, deputies found a hit list with the names of other family members in the teen’s backpack at the home and discovered the teen had made a statement about shooting up Pike County High School.

Sheriff Thomas says that during the investigation, his office also learned that on Tuesday, October 3, students at Pike County High School made faculty aware of disturbing and threatening statements made by the 14-year-old.

A release from the Pike County School System states there is no evidence of a threat to any Pike County School System campus. However, as a precautionary measure, the Pike County School System has asked to increase law enforcement presence on the Brundidge campuses.

The 14-year-old was arrested and charged with Murder as a Juvenile and is currently being held in a Juvenile Detention Center.

DA Tarbox says his office is discussing whether they want to charge the 14-year-old as an adult. The decision will ultimately be left up to a Pike County Circuit Judge. A hearing on the matter will take place next week, and if a judge certifies the 14-year-old as an adult, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office will release his identity.

The events of this week in Pike County are a tragic reminder that our communities here in Pike and Coffee Counties are not immune from actions we may typically associate with big cities and national news. While we are fortunate that things were not much worse, we must remember that a 17-year-old boy lost his life because he was murdered by his younger brother.

When events like the one we had this week in Pike County occur, someone typically has seen something or heard something that would indicate that a person had ill-intent or evil plans. Even more important, and more frequent than criminal activity, is that someone was in crisis and needed help from potential self-harm or suicide.

The District Attorney’s Office asks everyone to remember that if something does not seem right, or something you see indicates that someone may be about to do something evil or criminal, to please say something. Your report to law enforcement could save lives.

Pike County District Attorney James Tarbox