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Dispute preceded 5 killings in Illinois, police say

MANCHESTER, Ill. — The man suspected of storming a south-central Illinois home and killing five members of a family with a shotgun had been in a dispute with at least one victim, but authorities said Thursday they were still trying to determine if it had something to do with the custody of a child.

State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said investigators are looking into a possible custody battle involving Rick O. Smith, and were going to places he frequented.

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“Investigators are ... talking to family and friends, just kind of backtracking to see what can be pieced together.”

Smith allegedly shot and killed a 1-year-old boy, his 5-year-old brother, their pregnant mother, their father, and their great grandmother. The boys’ 6-year-old sister was also shot, but survived. Smith, the nephew of the town’s mayor, was killed while exchanging gunfire with police.

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