Warning Signs?

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January 10, 2005
The murders of two little boys by their own father has shocked North Augusta. It is also bringing the community together to mourn the deaths of 7-year-old Gunner and 4-year-old Ryker Young. The boys and their father, “Terry,” were found dead Sunday evening in the father’s home. Gunner and Ryker’s parents were separated, but there were no signs that something like this would happen.

At the business of Karyn Young’s salon hangs a white wreath, a sad reminder of her two boys, 7-year-old Gunner and 4-year-old Ryker, killed by their father.

“As you can imagine, the mother is quite traumatized,” said Chief Lee Whetherington, North Augusta Public Safety.

This past weekend 45-year-old Terrell Young had visitation with his two boys. Karyn Young became worried when her two boys were not returned after the weekend visit. Officers later found the bodies in Terrell Young’s home. Autopsy results show the father died from a gunshot wound and the children died from asphyxiation.

The Department of Social Services in Aiken County says there may not have been any warning signs that this would happen.

“I would I could give you a warning sign. There’s just not any, it could come from any angle. It’s our job to sort it out if we get a report,” said Austin Scott, DSS Director.

DSS never received any type of report from the Young family. All indications show everything from the outside seemed fine.

“It comes as a shock to a lot of people. There’s nothing that was apparent to other people in the neighborhood that there was a problem or anything,” Wetherington said.

DSS only steps in when there is a threat of harm or neglect.

“If there is some sort of a family crisis and the family splits up and abuse and neglect is not involved, that’s not my business, not at all,” Scott said.

And as neighbors are in disbelief, no one knew this was coming.

“Domonique, I don’t think there are valid warning signs,” Scott said.

Truenorth Church will hold a candlelight vigil for the Young brothers Tuesday night at the North Augusta High School starting at 9:00 p.m. with a short prayer service at 9:30 p.m. The family will also receive visitors at First Baptist in North Augusta from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday evening. Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church in North Augusta.

A DVD from the father, Terrell Young, arrived in the mail at News 12 on Tuesday morning. Mailing the DVD before the killings seems to show Young planned the murders and his suicide. News 12 management feels the contents of the DVD are irrelevant to the story and has chosen not to report what is on the DVD. We are in the process of turning over the DVD to North Augusta Public Safety. Also before the deaths, Young sent pictures of his sons to appear in the Augusta Chronicle’s “Kid of the Day.” One of the photos was scheduled to run on Monday.