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Investigators in the Florida Panhandle suspect the deaths of a woman and her two adult sons might’ve been ritualistic and could be connected to the recent blue moon.  Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said they have a person of interest in the July 28 deaths of 77-year-old Voncile Smith, 49-year-old Richard Smith and 47-year-old John Smith.

On Tuesday Sheriff Morgan said “Initial research had led us to believe it was a ritualistic killing.  The method of the murder, blunt force trauma … positioning of the bodies and our person of interest has some ties to a faith or religion that is indicative of that. The time of death on Tuesday also coincides with what’s referred to as a blue moon, which occurs every three years.”

According to Morgan all three victims were hit countless times with a claw hammer and had their throats slit, and Richard Smith also had a gunshot to his right ear.  The bodies were discovered Friday in their Pensacola-area home and investigators believe the murder happened about 7 p.m. on July 28.

A blue moon is a rare second full moon in a single month and one occurred three days after the killings on Friday, July 31.

Although Richard Smith was employed by the Department of Homeland Security and worked at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Morgan said officials with the Naval Criminal Investigative Services “have determined there are no issues involving … national security elements.”

 

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