Crime

Pennsylvania Man Wanted in Slaying of Six Is Found Dead

"She would tell anybody who would listen that he was going to kill her and that she was really afraid for her life."

Police cordon off a wooded area during the search for suspect Bradley William Stone, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, in Pennsburg, Pa. Schools closed and hospitals and other public places tightened security Tuesday as police in suburban Philadelphia hunted for the Marine veteran suspected of killing his ex-wife and five of her relatives. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PENNSBURG, Pa. (AP) -- A former Marine suspected of killing his ex-wife and five of her relatives was found dead in the woods near his suburban Philadelphia home Tuesday after a day-and-a-half manhunt that closed schools and left people on edge.

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said on her official Facebook page that police found Bradley William Stone's body. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Stone, a 35-year-old Iraq War veteran locked in a custody dispute so bitter that his ex-wife feared for her life, went on a 90-minute shooting rampage before daybreak Monday at three homes a few miles apart, authorities said.

UNDATED: In this handout from the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, Bradley William Stone, a suspect in the shooting deaths of six people and the wounding of another, is seen. Stone is being sought by authorities in Pennsylvania for the killing of six people, who police is describing as having a "familial relationship" with Stone and the wounding of another at three different locations.  (Photo by Montgomery County District Attorney's Office via Getty Images) UNDATED: In this handout from the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, Bradley William Stone, a suspect in the shooting deaths of six people and the wounding of another, is seen. Stone is being sought by authorities in Pennsylvania for the killing of six people, who police is describing as having a "familial relationship" with Stone and the wounding of another at three different locations. (Photo by Montgomery County District Attorney's Office via Getty Images)

In this photo taken on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, York County police ride on the outside of the armored vehicle on their way to the scene of standoff in Hanover, Pa., where police say a man opened fire on officers who tried to serve him a warrant. Authorities report that police from West Manheim Township returned fire as the man barricaded himself in the house. Authorities say that when York County law enforcement agents eventually entered the home, the man was found dead. (AP Photo/York Daily Record, Jason Plotkin)  In this photo taken on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, York County police ride on the outside of the armored vehicle on their way to the scene of standoff in Hanover, Pa., where police say a man opened fire on officers who tried to serve him a warrant. Authorities report that police from West Manheim Township returned fire as the man barricaded himself in the house. Authorities say that when York County law enforcement agents eventually entered the home, the man was found dead. (AP Photo/York Daily Record, Jason Plotkin) 

The killing spree set off the second major manhunt to transfix Pennsylvania in recent months. Eric Frein spent 48 days at large in the Poconos after the September ambush slaying of a state trooper.

As the manhunt dragged on - with SWAT teams making their way through neighborhoods and the Philadelphia police sending in a heat-sensing helicopter - at least five schools within a few miles of Stone's Pennsburg home closed. Veterans' hospitals and other places tightened security.

The rampage unfolded in the towns of Harleysville, Lansdale and Souderton.

Stone's former wife, 33-year-old Nicole Stone, was found dead in her apartment after a neighbor saw Stone fleeing around 5 a.m. with their two young daughters, authorities said. The girls were later found safe with Stone's neighbors.

Police went to two other homes and discovered five more people dead: Nicole Stone's mother, grandmother, sister, brother-in-law and 14-year-old niece. A 17-year-old nephew was wounded in the head, and Ferman said he was in "very serious" condition.

Stone and his ex-wife had fighting over their children's custody since she filed for divorce in 2009. He filed an emergency motion this month, although the resulting Dec. 9 ruling remained sealed in court files.

Police cordon off a wooded area during the search for suspect Bradley William Stone, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, in Pennsburg, Pa. Schools closed and hospitals and other public places tightened security Tuesday as police in suburban Philadelphia hunted for the Marine veteran suspected of killing his ex-wife and five of her relatives. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Police cordon off a wooded area during the search for suspect Bradley William Stone, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, in Pennsburg, Pa. Schools closed and hospitals and other public places tightened security Tuesday as police in suburban Philadelphia hunted for the Marine veteran suspected of killing his ex-wife and five of her relatives. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Neighbors said Nicole Stone lived in such fear of her ex-husband that she would sometimes ask her apartment complex's maintenance staff to go in and check her place first because she was afraid he might be lying in wait.

"He would call and just harass her and threaten her," said neighbor Michele Brewser. "She shouldn't have had to live in terror."

"She would tell anybody who would listen that he was going to kill her and that she was really afraid for her life," said Evan Weron, another neighbor in Harleysville.

Stone was probably wearing military fatigues and may have shaved off his facial hair, the district attorney said. She added that he sometimes used a cane or walker.

Stone was in the Marines from 2002 through 2008. The former sergeant's occupational specialty was listed as "artillery meteorological man."

Stone told a 2011 child support hearing that Veterans Affairs deemed him permanently disabled and that he was collecting benefits from the agency, according to court documents.

The VA had no comment Tuesday. A longtime friend, Matthew Schafte, said he was not aware of any injuries Stone may have suffered as a Marine.

Stone had faced several driving-under-the-influence charges, one of which was handled in veterans' court and led to a three- to 23-month sentence.

He remarried last year, according to his Facebook page and court records, and has an infant son. Neither his wife nor the son was injured. Nicole Stone became engaged over the summer, neighbors said.

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