Neighbor calls for help after 4 found dead in Elkview home

Middle school releases statement
"I just think about the kids and how they had so much life ahead of them, and it's taken away,"...
"I just think about the kids and how they had so much life ahead of them, and it's taken away," said neighbor Nathan Gandee.(Kim Rafferty)
Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 7:55 PM EST

ELKVIEW, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A community is still trying to come to terms with the deaths of four people found dead inside a home in Elkview during the weekend, including a neighbor who called for help.

Nathan Gandee, the neighbor, and a family member made the call for help when the bodies of the family were found next door. Their names were released earlier Monday.

“I actually live in this gray house right here, pretty much 10 feet from the house,” Gandee said.

He said he still cannot wrap his mind around the gruesome discovery so close to home.

On Sunday, four of the five family members were found dead inside their home on Cemetery Hill Drive.

“I just think about the kids and how they had so much life ahead of them and it’s taken away,” Gandee said.

Gandee’s neighbor’s relatives showed up Sunday morning to check on them after not hearing from them.

“He said ‘well they are all dead.’ I said ‘what?’ and he said ‘they are all dead in there,’ ” Gandee said. ”He said that the parents were in bed. The father still had a CPAP (sleep device) on and the child was laying in the hallway.”

Gandee said he ran inside and called for help.

Kanawha County Sheriff’s deputies arrived and found a man, woman and two young boys, a 12-year-old and a 3-year old, later identified as Gage Ripley, 12, and Jameson Long, only 3, dead inside the home.

The other victims were identified as Daniel Long and Risa Saunders. All had been shot.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged in their deaths.

Samra Mullins, who lives down the street, said she’s concerned for all those involved.

“You think about the family and all the people involved in this that have to mourn this happened,” Mullins said. “So while they wait their answers, I will surely have them in my prayers.”

Gandee said the entire incident doesn’t seem real. He said he will always remember their kids playing together and throwing a football in the yard.

“To lose two children that age, it’s just horrible. I’m speechless, and I really don’t know how to speak on that one,” Gandee said.

Gage Ripley was a sixth-grader at Elkview Middle School, where Principal Missy Lovejoy released the following statement:

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I have to inform you that we lost a member of our Herd family. Elkview Middle has been notified that 6th grader, Gage Ripley has died. Please keep the extended family and friends close to him in your thoughts and prayers. Gage was a hard worker. He was polite to adults and always willing to help. He was an active member of our area’s Archery Programs. He was on Elk Elementary Center’s team and participated in Elkview Middle’s Archery Tournaments last year. He really seemed to enjoy this and received recognition for his accomplishments as an archer. Teachers describe him as a beloved student and one that was willing to take charge.

“In addition to keeping Gage’s family in your thoughts and prayers, please know Elkview Middle School is prepared to assist our students through this tragic event. The love and support that the Elkview community shows in time of need will very much be a part of the healing process.

“Elkview Middle School is prepared to assist with counseling for students and staff. If you need our help, please reach out. Tuesday, December 15, from 11:00 - 1:00, we will have additional counseling staff on hand to speak with students. Students can be brought to the school and we will assist them in-person or virtually by appointment. If you need to contact us, please call the school at 304-965-7091, message us on Schoology or by email: Counselor - Mrs. Victoria Emery - Principal- Mrs. Missy Lovejoy - Assistant Principal - Mrs. Jennifer Wible -”

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