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W.Va. Man Guns Down 3 of His Kids, Self

January 27, 2003

HORNER, W.Va. (AP) _ A man in the middle of a divorce shot two of his children and a foster child to death, burned down a house the family was building, then went into the woods and killed himself, officials said Monday.

Gayle Sams’ estranged wife and their 14-year-old daughter escaped unharmed and ran to a neighbor’s house to call 911, said Sheriff Robert Rinehart.

Two 4-year-olds and a 17-year-old boy were killed when Sams, who was living elsewhere, went to the family’s home late Sunday. The sheriff said the family was adopting one of the 4-year-olds.

The children’s bodies were found upstairs in the farmhouse.

After the shooting, Sams went to a house the family was building about a mile away, and set fire to his truck and the home, destroying both.

Later, a shot was heard, and Sams’ body was found Monday morning in the woods between the two houses.

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