Two Teenagers Found Dead in Indiana Home, Person of Interest in Custody

A person of interest is in custody after two teenage boys were found dead in a home in Lake County, Indiana.

The victims were identified by the Lake County Coroner's Office as Maxwell Kroll, 17, and Elijah Robinson, 18, according to AP.

Lake County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Pam Jones told The Chicago Tribune on Thursday that they could release no further information other than there is a person in custody.

Lake County Sheriff's Department told media outlets that the killings are believed to have occurred between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. last Friday.

Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. said that officers were dispatched to the home on West 51st Avenue in unincorporated Calumet Township at around 11.45 a.m.

Police had received a call from one of the teenage boy's girlfriends, who told operators she had been trying to contact one of them earlier but he was not responding. She went over to the property and found the pair unresponsive, she said.

When officers entered the home they found the two teenagers inside, both dead. The coroner has not specified the cause or time of their deaths yet and investigators are still gathering information in the case, reports say.

What the families have said

Max's sister, Jasmine Dunfee, told ABC News: "My brother was 17 years old. He did not even get to live his life. He did not get to graduate high school, he did not get to do nothing. My family is devastated. This is my younger brother. I had co-guardianship of him."

She also said that both teens were murdered in the middle of the night after an assailant kicked open the back door of the home, then shot and killed them, according to ABC News. Dunfee said that the gunman then ransacked the home, taking valuables.

She also said that his grandparents were home at the time of the shooting, but did not realize anything had happened.

Elijah Robinson's father, Jon Robinson, told The Chicago Tribune that his son was a young man finally getting a start in life.

He said: "He was a kid, but he was trying to make moves. He was respectful and he loved his 'Big J Grandma' and his Aunt Ruby more than anything."

Robinson told the newspaper that Elijah and Max were best friends who met at Lake Ridge Middle School. The pair became inseparable before Elijah's mom moved the family to Hammond's Hessville section, he added.

When his mom and her family moved to LaPorte, Elijah moved in with Max and Max's grandparents so he could continue to be close to his work and friends.

Max's older brother Alexandria Cortazar set up a GoFundMe page for their funeral and wrote: "As most of you may or may not know, our family was hit with tragedy for a third time.

"Following our mother & father's passing, my little brother Max was murdered in his home early morning on October 16th.

"This loss is tremendous and so unexpected… Max lives with our grandma and grandpa who are on a set monthly income.

"Any and every donation will help give my brother the service he deserves. He was only 17, and had a whole life ahead of him… May he Rest In Peace. Thank you in advance."

A fundraiser was also set up for Jon Robinson by Elijah's stepmother Justina Robinson, which said: Our fellow Union brother's son Elijah, was murdered on October 16, 2020.

"The police have released very few details, but anyone who knows Jon, knows he is just the best guy ever. This is the worst fear of a parent. We need to band together and help Jon."

Newsweek has contacted out to the Lake County Sherriff's department and the boys' family for comment.