Nicholas T. Sheley

ST. LOUIS — An Illinois man who was wanted in a rampage that left eight people dead across Illinois and Missouri was captured Tuesday night, authorities said.

A dispatcher for the Police Department in Granite City, Ill., confirmed that the man, Nicholas T. Sheley, 28, was in custody. Granite City is about 10 miles north of St. Louis.

Sheley, of Sterling, Ill., was the subject of a brief but intense manhunt on Tuesday. The search began Thursday when authorities in Whiteside County, Ill., found the body of a 93-year-old man. Sheley is suspected in the deaths of two men, a woman and a child in neighboring Rock Falls, Ill., about 100 miles west of Chicago, and the beating death of a man in Galesburg, Ill. From there, authorities believe Sheley traveled south, where he is suspected of killing a couple in Festus, Mo., south of St. Louis.

The authorities said all the victims appeared to have died from blunt force trauma to the head, adding that Sheley had a criminal history of armed violence and resisting arrest.

First wanted for home invasion in Whiteside County, Ill., Sheley became a wanted man on Thursday, when the severely beaten body of Russell Reed, 93, of Sterling was found stuffed in the trunk of a car.

On Monday morning, the bodies of Tom and Jill Estes, an Arkansas couple visiting the St. Louis area, were found behind a gasoline station in Festus.

By noon, the beaten body of Ronald Randall, 65, was found behind a grocery store in Galesburg, about 200 miles southwest of Chicago.

That afternoon, authorities in Rock Falls discovered the bodies of Brock Branson, 29, and Kenneth Ulve, 25, in an apartment. Sgt. Tom Burek of the Illinois State Police said the authorities also found the bodies of a woman and a child in the apartment, although their names had yet to be released.

"We're pretty confident that one of the four victims in Rock Falls was an acquaintance of Sheley," Burek said. "But we possibly think some of them are random."