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November 27, 2009

Paul Michael Merhige, Suspect in Thanksgiving Day Murder in Jupiter, FL … 4 Relatives Dead Including 6 Year Old

Posted in: Bizarre,Child Welfare,Crime,Deceased,Facebook,Murder,WTF

Thanksgiving Day Massacre …

Three woman and a six year old child were murdered as they were shot to death at a Thanksgiving Day gathering in Jupiter, FL. According to reports, there were 17 relatives in the Jupiter residence when the shootings occurred. Paul Michael Merhige returned to the residence at 104 Via Veracruz in Jupiter, Fl at 10 pm Thanksgiving night and started shooting.

Paul Michael Merhige_killer

Manhunt on for Paul Michael Merhige, killed 4 on Thanksgiving Day

Police are looking for 35 year old Paul Michael Merhige of Miami as the suspect in the multiple murders. The man hunt is on for Merhige who is believed to be driving a 4-door blue 2007 Toyota Camry with Florida license plate W42 7JT. He is to be considered armed and dangerous. The shooting victims are being reported as Paul Michael Merhige’s twin sisters, Carla Merhige and Lisa Knight, 33, his 76 year old aunt Raymonde Joseph and his 6 year old cousin Makayla Sitton.  Paul Michael Merhige shot the 6 year old while she was sleeping. Who shoots a sleeping, innocent 6 year old child?

Merhige_youngest killed

6 year old Makayla Sitton murdered

Authorities said a fifth victim, Merhige’s brother-in-law Patrick Knight, was being treated at a hospital. His condition was not available. Another man, Clifford Gebara, 52, was grazed by a bullet and was treated by paramedics on the scene and released.

Police across South Florida and the U.S. Marshals Service were searching for Merhige. Pascarella said Merhige is believed to be driving a blue 2007 4-door Toyota Camry with Florida license plate W42 7JT.

According to reports, it was not sure what lead to the shooting incident as Jupiter Police Sgt. Scott Pascarella stated, “It did not appear there was any altercation prior to this shooting,” but  there was an “ongoing resentment” in the family, but didn’t know the nature of the problem or whether the victims were specifically targeted.

Police said the home was owned by Jim Sitton, a photo-journalist for WPTV-TV and father of the little girl killed. Sitton told WPTV his daughter was in bed when she was shot. He was at the party at the time of the shooting but was not wounded.

Yellow crime scene tape was stretched around Sitton’s salmon-colored house, located in a well-kept subdivision of stucco homes. Several cars were parked in the driveway, and a crime scene van sat in front.

Sitton told local media that his daughter was supposed to perform Friday in a holiday production of “The Nutcracker.”

“God packed a lot of sweetness into that little body,” Sitton said. “She’s just our life. I don’t know how we are ever going to recover.”

The relationship between Sitton and Paul Merhige was unclear, police said.

As stated above according to Jupiter Police Sgt. Scott Pascarella, there was an on going resentment toward family members. Paul Michael Merhige left the residence and then returned and started shooting.

“We know the suspect had an ongoing resentment toward family members and at some point in the evening left the residence for a short period of time, then returned and started shooting without warning,” Police Sgt. Scott Pascarella told ABCNews.com.

VIDEO via CNN  (it is a gut wrenching video of the dad, Jim Sitton talking about the death of his little girl)

UPDATE I: Paul Michael Merhige had history of mental problems

According to a report from The Miami Herald, Paul Michael Merhige had a history of mental problems and suicide attempts, according to a handyman who worked for his family. Paul Michael Merhige referred to as a very conflicted person.”

No Florida public records indicate Merhige has been involuntarily committed.

Under Florida law, anyone with a history of being involuntarily committed to a mental institution, or judged incompetent or mentally defective, from obtaining a firearm permit.

But the law is silent about people voluntarily treated for mental illness.

With the nature of this crime, the charges that Merhige faces and his reported past mental issues included alleged suicide attempts, it is hard to believe that this case will not end with the suspect being found having finally successfully achieving suicide.

UPDATE II: Police expand manhunt for suspect in Thanksgiving Day shooting

A History of metal problems, suicide and violence as Merhige had been arrested once, in 1998.

The manhunt for Merhige has been broadened as far as Birmingham, Michigan, where police there have issued a Be On The Lookout — or BOLO — alert for Merhige and his royal blue Camry, license plate W42-7JT.

Merhige may have spent time in Michigan, perhaps to seek medical treatment. At least one source who knew Merhige said he had a history of mental problems and suicide attempts.

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