According to published reports, the Saline County Sheriff has confirmed two people were found dead early Thursday morning, with one person’s body discovered in Slater around 1:45 a.m., and the other body just outside Slater city limits around 8 a.m.

Sheriff Cindi Mullins has identified the male victim as Ryan Sanders, 35. He was found in the 800 block of Park Place. Sanders had three gunshot wounds to the chest and another to the wrist.

The other victim was found at 30687 Nickel Avenue, just north of the city limits. She has been identified as Bonnie Charlene Hupp, 83.

"We believe these two incidents are related," Sheriff Mullins said late this afternoon. Her agency is working closely with the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control, as well as the Slater Police Department.

Mrs. Hupp was the grandmother-in-law of the first victim, Ryan Sanders, the sheriff said.

A woman reportedly called police around 1:45 a.m. Thursday, reporting that she heard shots and a man yelling for help. When an ambulance arrived, they found a man unconscious a short distance away from the caller. The man was taken to an area hospital, where he later died.

Police were reportedly looking for a white van that left the area shortly after the shots were heard. A suspect description was described as a white man, 6'1", and weighing 220 pounds.

Numerous patrol cars, including Slater Police, Saline County deputies and the Missouri Highway State Patrol converged at a home and property located next to a cemetery off North Central Street just north of the Slater city limits. There is no one in custody at this time.

Slater is a small community located about 10 miles northeast of Marshall, with a population of nearly 1,900.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to call the Saline County Sheriff's Department at (660) 886-5511.

Randy Kirby