Police search for 3 missing relatives of man killed by police

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

LEMAY, Mo. (AP) -- With his father, aunt and grandmother missing for nearly a week, Michael Politte held out little hope Tuesday he'd see them alive again.

"I think my cousin killed them and took them somewhere," Politte, 34, of St. Clair, Mo., said. "I don't think they'll find them alive."

The search continued for Politte's 59-year-old father, also named Michael, along with Norma Manolakos, 76, and Nedra Flippo, 56, a day after police shot and killed Flippo's mentally ill son, Anthony Lynn.

Police were called to the small cinderblock home the four shared Sunday when relatives became concerned about their whereabouts. When an officer tried to enter a back door, police said Lynn, 38, shot the officer three times in the back of the leg.

That prompted a five-hour standoff. At 3:30 a.m. Monday, police fired tear gas into the home. Lynn climbed out a second-story window, with his dog, onto a metal awning. He reached back into the window to retrieve two guns, police said.

Lynn raised a weapon, and a police sniper shot and killed him, police said.

The injured officer, Sean Haefeli, was treated at a hospital.

Police said they have no evidence the missing are dead. But the relatives haven't been heard from since Nov. 22. Politte's sandy brown 2000 Chevrolet minivan is also missing.

On Tuesday, Politte's three grown children sat on ledges outside the home where Lynn was killed. Politte's daughters had tears in their eyes as they described Lynn, a former Marine, as a troubled man.

"Everyone knew there was something wrong with him," said Kimberly Dutkiewicz, 35, of Gideon, Mo.

She and her sister, Stacey Lackey, 36, of St. Clair, said Lynn was known to carry knives around the house, and had episodes where he would stay up all night, talking loudly and saying things that didn't make sense.

The family lived in close quarters. The grandmother slept on the couch, her daughter in a first-floor bedroom, her son in the basement and her grandson upstairs.

They said Flippo had fought with her son, but they never thought it would result in serious harm.

St. Louis County police spokeswoman Tracy Panus said officers had been called to the home in the past, but she found no immediate record of physical violence.

Relatives couldn't tell if there had been any struggle at the home before the incident. Windows were boarded over. Inside the home, traces of tear gas stung the eyes while broken glass littered the floor. They were still trying to coax a cat, that had apparently been at the house during the standoff, into coming to them.

They said the missing relatives at times worked at an adult bookstore in Jefferson County. Manolakos had retired and her daughter had been ill and wasn't recently working, they said.

Politte, who works at the bookstore, didn't show up for his scheduled shift on Saturday.

His children said they had last seen him Tuesday, after he had been deer hunting. Manolakos had spoken to her brother, Gerald Currington, on Nov. 22.

She was preparing for Thanksgiving and looking forward to a regular visit to a casino.

Currington told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he went to pick her up Saturday morning, but no one answered the door. He called several times that day. A nephew went past the house again Sunday but saw no sign of the family.

Panus said police are tracking leads.

"We're still hoping to locate them alive," said Panus. "We're open to any possibilities at this point."

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