Jacob Allen Bennett is suspected of killing Rikki Danielle Jacobsen, 22, Steven Presley, 17, Dominic Davis, 17 and John Lajeunesse, 16 and leaving their bodies in a car on Renegade Mountain in Cumberland County. Bennett was arrested on an unrelated charge Thursday night but officials said he was being considered a suspect from very early in the investigation.
The community "can rest assured that we believe that we have this person that committed these crimes in custody," Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said.
Officials said they believed the killings were deliberate but that it was too early to release details of what exactly happened or whether drugs were involved. Investigators said they believed the victims were shot within 24 hours of their discovery at around 7 a.m. Thursday, said Deputy District Attorney Gary McKenzie.
Police have refused to speculate what might have led Bennett, who has multiple convictions, to cross paths with three teenagers and a young mother. Three of the victims were current or former students in the local school district.
"There's a lot of emotion that goes into this case just simply based on the age of these children," said Casey Cox, the chief investigator for the sheriff's department.