IRONTON, Ohio -- Four people, including an 8-year-old boy, were found fatally shot in a southeast Ohio home and a fifth person who was stabbed and critically wounded managed to escape, police say.

Officials were still searching Thursday for 23-year-old Aaron Lawson, who they calling a suspect in the attacks.

Aaron Lawson
Aaron Lawson

The bodies of the three adults were found in a house trailer in an unincorporated area of Lawrence County at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeffery Lawless said Thursday.

The stabbing victim, who lived at the home, returned there to find the gruesome scene and was then stabbed in the head and neck by the suspect, Lawless said. He was able to escape and drive to seek help at the residence of a relative of the shooting victims, about a quarter mile away. That person was flown to a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.

Authorities had initially issued a missing child alert for an 8-year-old boy, Devin Holston, who lived at the home where the bodies were found and couldn't be located after a search of the area, but then canceled the alert.

Authorities said later Thursday afternoon the body of an 8-year-old was found inside the home. They said the child's body was put in a place where it was "hidden" and wasn't discovered until after the initial search.

None of the deceased were immediately identified.

"We no longer have a missing child, what we have here is a horrible, horrible tragedy," Lawless said.

Lawless said that all those involved were "related in some fashion." Lawson knew the family and had spent time at the home in the past, Lawless said.

Around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, deputies spotted Lawson in a blue truck in Ironton, about 15 miles south of where the victims were found, the sheriff said. Deputies chased Lawson before he crashed his vehicle into a ditch and ran into the woods, the sheriff said.

The sheriff's office said releasing further information would compromise the investigation. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is assisting Lawrence County in the investigation.

Lawless said schools in the Rock Hill district are closed Thursday because of the attacks.

The initial report about the slayings -- violence against multiple people found at trailers belonging to related residents -- recalled details from a still-unsolved homicide case that rattled rural southern Ohio last year.

In April 2016, eight members of the Rhoden family were found shot to death in four homes in the Piketon area. The deaths on Wednesday occurred roughly 40 miles southeast of Piketon.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio attorney general's office said Thursday that investigators have no indication of a connection between the cases.