Police seek to identify 5 found dead in Ala. apt.

Published 2:25 pm Thursday, August 21, 2008

BIRMINGHAM – Five men found dead in a locked apartment reportedly had their throats slashed, and investigators were still trying to verify the names of all the victims, authorities said Thursday. No arrests have been made.

Sheriff’s Department Capt. Ken Burchfield said investigators still were trying to complete positive identifications of all the victims, nearly a day after their bodies were discovered.

Officers went to the suburban Cahaba Lakes complex after receiving a call from someone who was unable to get in touch with a friend at the apartment. They initially had difficulty entering because the door was bolted, but found the bodies when they got in about 6 p.m. Wednesday.

“Something of this magnitude is horrific,” Sheriff Chris Curry told reporters. “Any agency that has to deal with this many deaths … it’s difficult.”

Local media outlets quoted unnamed sources as saying the victims’ throats had been slashed, but Burchfield declined comment on how the men died.

“Until we have something back from forensics, we are not going to talk about the cause or manner of death,” he said.

The deaths shocked neighbors, who described sometimes seeing men outside the apartment playing with a flying disc. On Thursday, yellow police tape surrounded the apartment where the bodies were found.

“Normally it’s pretty quiet, but when this happened people started telling about arrests all over here,” said resident Mark Johnston. “It’s pretty brutal.”