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Published: Thursday, 4/21/2011

Ottawa County sheriff to shut shooting probe

BLADE STAFF

PORT CLINTON -- After meeting a final time with family members Friday, Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton plans to close out the investigation of an Oak Harbor, Ohio, man who killed his wife and children before fatally shooting himself, the sheriff said.

Autopsies conducted this week at the Lucas County Coroner's Office showed Alan Atwater, 31, his wife, Dawn, 30, and their three young children each died from a single gunshot wound in the head. Findings from the autopsies were "consistent with evidence viewed on scene," Dr. Jerome McTague, Ottawa County coroner, said in a news release issued late Tuesday.

Atwater called 911 early Saturday morning to say that his wife and children were dead and that he was going to kill himself. He said he had killed his family.

Dr. McTague said Mrs. Atwater died "instantly." She and Atwater and the couple's children -- Ashley, 4, Isaac, 2, and Brady, 1 -- were in an upstairs bedroom where authorities believe the slayings occurred. Sheriff Bratton said the autopsies also confirmed investigators' belief that both a shotgun and a 22-caliber rifle were used, he said.

He said he planned to meet with family Friday. Funerals were set for 11 a.m. Thursday at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oak Harbor.



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