LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas authorities were investigating the death of a 16-year-old girl as a homicide after her younger brother confessed to fatally shooting her this weekend, a local sheriff said Monday.
The girl's 15-year-old brother was crying and appeared remorseful when he turned himself in on Sunday morning, Franklin County Sheriff Anthony Boen said. But Boen said he doesn't believe the sister's death was an accident.
"He just said that he had just shot and killed his sister," Boen said. "... He didn't give a motive."
Authorities found the sister's body in a bedroom at the family's home near Ozark, which is about 120 miles northwest of Little Rock. No one else was there.
The teen likely killed his sister sometime after 8 a.m., when his parents left to go grocery shopping in Fort Smith, about 40 miles away, Boen said. The boy turned himself in at the sheriff's department about an hour and a half later.
Boen said deputies had never been called to the home and there weren't any reports of trouble with the children.
The boy's name has not been released because he's a minor. He was in custody in nearby Sebastian County because Franklin County isn't set up to house juveniles, Boen said. He's expected to go before a judge on Tuesday. So far, it's not clear whether he will be charged as a juvenile or adult.
Guns were confiscated from the family's home and vehicle, the sheriff said. Authorities were trying to determine which weapon was used in the shooting.
"Both the dad and the son were avid hunters," Boen said.
Donna Sheppard, who lives next to the home where the boy allegedly shot his sister, said her grandson knew the teen from school and described him as a "nice young boy."
"It's the most shocking thing I could have ever imagined," she said.
She didn't hear any gunshots before she left for Sunday school a little after 9 a.m. Instead, she found out about it when she came home from church.
"It's one of these things you hear about everywhere else, not right next to you," she said.
The girl's body has been sent to the state crime lab, where investigators will determine how exactly she died. Preliminary autopsy results are expected sometime this week.
The Arkansas State Police are investigating the case, but spokesman Bill Sadler declined to talk about it.