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Originally published May 8, 2013 at 11:14 AM | Page modified May 9, 2013 at 1:32 AM

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Officers hunt Calif. suspect in family killings

Authorities are searching for a 45-year-old man they say fatally shot his wife and two young daughters in their rural Northern California home.

The Associated Press

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SHINGLETOWN, Calif. —

Authorities are searching for a 45-year-old man they say fatally shot his wife and two young daughters in their rural Northern California home.

Shane Franklin Miller, wanted in the killings in Shingletown, is believed to be heavily armed and extremely dangerous, authorities said.

"There is a manhunt for him right now," Sheriff's Lt. Dave Kent said Wednesday. "He's a prime suspect. We're not looking for anybody else."

Kent said Shasta County Sheriff's deputies received a call from Miller's residence around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday. When they arrived, they found the bodies of Miller's wife, Sandy, 34, and two daughters, Shelby, 8, and Shasta, 4.

All three had been shot multiple times, Kent said.

Kent said investigators had not determined who placed the call, but he said it was from one of the victims as the shooting was in progress.

Investigators have released a photo of Miller and said he is believed be driving a gold-colored 2010 Dodge Mega Cab pickup with a camper shell.

Late Wednesday, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office said it received calls from the public that Miller was seen driving in a rural area near Petrolia, about 40 miles south of Eureka. The department said in a release that officers found the truck abandoned and were searching the area.

Authorities have not recovered the gun, or guns, believed to have been used in the shooting, but Kent said more weapons were found in the house.

"We found several different types of weapons, ammunition in the house, so he may be heavily fortified at this time," Kent told The Associated Press.

Miller may be heading to a cabin in coastal Humboldt County, where authorities have said several weapons may be stored.

Initially, authorities believed the cabin was in Ferndale, about 180 miles west of Shingletown, a drive of nearly four hours over rural highways.

But Kent said Wednesday evening he could not confirm the location, and Ferndale Police Chief Bret Smith said there was a residence in nearby Petrolia, not Ferndale, where Miller has stayed in the past.

Lt. Steve Knight, a Humboldt County sheriff's spokesman, said authorities there were working with Shasta County sheriff's officials, but he declined to provide any details about the search.

The two-story house where the shooting took place is nestled among pine trees, with a detached garage and shed in the back. The Redding Searchlight reported that horses and llamas graze on the property.

Investigators had not determined a motive for the shooting, but Kent noted deputies had gone to the home last month on a domestic dispute call.

Schools in the rural community of about 2,000 people about 230 miles northeast of San Francisco were locked down during the day Wednesday, and a forest harvest demonstration for local schools set for Wednesday and Thursday was rescheduled for next week.

Miller's two daughters both attended school in the Black Butte Union Elementary School District, district superintendent Don Aust, told The Record Searchlight.

The girls' parents pulled Shelby out of the elementary school and Shasta out of the preschool programs around three to four weeks ago, Aust said.

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