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More questions for victims' families in Ripley County

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By Holly Brantley - email

RIPLEY COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - New autopsy that results show Loyd and Irene Piatt died as a result of gun shot wounds to the chest, and not due to the tragic fire in their home is hard for families members to cope with.

"It's real," said Imetta Farrar. "We have so many questions." Farrar was married to the Piatts' late son, Laymon McGonigal for 22 years.

Farrar says the results brought more questions than closure.

"Who shot them?" questioned Farrar. "We don't know if they had to sit there and watch their spouse die."

Among the questions, were the suspected killers also family? Now, resting again at Pope Chapel Cemetery, investigators exhumed the Piatts' remains last Thursday to find out how they died. Specifically, they want to know if the Piatts' nephew David Youngblood, his family, and Keith Boyles had anything to do with it

"It could be several days before we know whether or now we will charge them," said Ripley County Prosecutor, Chris Miller.

The Youngblood family and Boyles are accused of killing Ed Atkinson and Bonnie Chase, another couple from Ripley county. They died in a similar incident less than three weeks after the Piatts' involving a shooting and a fire.

"We know what that family is going through," said Farrar.

Imetta says both David and Melissa were at the visitation for the Piatts' and also the funeral.

Now, she wonders what might have happened if the Piatts' deaths had been ruled a homicide from the beginning.

"We've got a ton to review, look at, and prepare," said Chris Miller.

At this point, the four suspects only face charges in the deaths of Atkinson and Chase.

"I have told the investigators their job is not to get this done quickly," Miller said.  "It's to get it done right."

Miller says he has not ruled out asking for the death penalty regarding the current murder charges.

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