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Police arrest three teens in couple's slaying in Indiana County

Renatta Signorini
| Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, 8:46 a.m.
Justin Stevenson, 19, in custody in connection with a double homicide in Indiana County.
Justin Stevenson, 19, in custody in connection with a double homicide in Indiana County.
Nathan Price, 18
Nathan Price, 18

After a 12-hour manhunt, police arrested three teenage suspects Thursday in connection with the deaths of an Indiana County couple, according to District Attorney Patrick Dougherty.

He praised the quick work of investigators in identifying suspects and tracking them down after police were summoned at 12:40 a.m. to the Cherryhill Township apartment where the bodies of Timothy Gardner, 26, and Jacqueline Brink, 20, were found.

“This is the way that you hope an investigation goes,” Dougherty said during a news conference an hour after the third suspect had been captured. “In a case like this, it can be one small detail that facilitates a lead in a case.”

A couple of Gardner's family members, who attended the conference, tearfully thanked police for their quick work. Dougherty identified the suspects as Nathan Price, 18, Justin Stevenson, 19, and Isaiah Russell-Scott, 17. He did not provide addresses for the teens, who had yet to be charged as of late Thursday afternoon. Russell-Scott will be charged as an adult, Dougherty said.

Gardner's adoptive father, Kenneth Gardner of Black Lick, said he was “amazed” at how quickly police identified and captured the three teens.

“I stay strong for everybody else, then I grieve by myself,” said Gardner, who admitted he had a lot of rage toward the suspects. “As long as the system prevails, that's all I am about. I want justice for Tim.”

Police offered few details about what happened inside the apartment, but Dougherty said the teens intended to rob the victims at their Hillside Drive apartment, just outside of Clymer. A neighbor reported to police a disturbance, he said.

Dougherty declined to elaborate on a possible motive for the killings.

“This does not appear to be a random incident,” he said. “This appears to be a targeted incident.”

Two boys in the home — ages 1 and 3 — were not harmed. Kenneth Gardner said they are his grandsons.

Police were serving search warrants at locations across Indiana County on Thursday. Police believe the suspects made off with a safe, Dougherty said.

“Certainly, there were people that came forward very quickly” with information about the crime and possible suspects, Dougherty said.

Price and Russell-Scott were both found at their homes in the morning, he said.

Stevenson was found in Indiana at 1 p.m. Eisenhower Elementary School was briefly locked down as a precaution while police closed in on him, Dougherty said.

Autopsies were being conducted Thursday afternoon.

Gardner said his adoptive son and Brink had been dating for about six months.

“Now two boys don't got their dad,” Gardner said. “I just have to stay strong for the rest of the family.”

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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