Car Blast Victim Killed Five, Authorities SayTOM MINEHART , Associated Press
Jun. 4, 1985 8:55 PM ET
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) _ A man killed in a van explosion with his lover and her children had killed five wealthy relatives who planned to testify in a child custody battle, authorities said Tuesday.
''The questions may never be answered,'' Forsyth County Sheriff Preston Oldham told a news conference.
A custody battle for the children of Susie Newsom Lynch, 39, and two large inheritances were key elements in the case of Frederick Klenner Jr., who was Mrs. Lynch's cousin, Oldham said.
''Was it their blood relationship? Was it the child custody case? There's a multitude of potentials,'' Oldham said. ''Only God knows, because everybody's gone.''
Klenner, 32; Mrs. Lynch, 39, with whom he lived in Greensboro; and her sons John, 10, and James, 9, died in the explosion Monday afternoon.
The explosion ended a seven-mile pursuit that began when officers tried to arrest Klenner on murder charges and he fired a machine gun at them.
Klenner's death closed a May 18 triple murder case in Winston-Salem in which Mrs. Lynch's parents, Robert W. Newson Jr. and Florence Sharp Newsom, and her grandmother, Hattie C. Newsom, were slain, the sheriff said.
Mrs. Lynch was married from 1970 to 1981 to Thomas J. Lynch, a dentist in Albuquerque, N.M., and the father of her two children.
Last July, Lynch's mother and sister were shot to death at their home in Prospect, Ky. Kentucky officials believe Klenner killed Delores Rodgers Lynch, 68, and Dr. Jane Lynch, 39.
''We have no doubt that Klenner committed the murders in our area,'' said Oldham County, Ky., police Sgt. Dennis Clark.
In both cases, the victims were shot several times and their large, secluded homes were ransacked.
All five victims, apparently upset by Klenner's courtship of Mrs. Lynch, planned to testify against her in a hearing in Greensboro this summer over the custody of her two sons, Oldham said.
He said the two Kentucky victims had an inheritance of ''several million dollars,'' but he didn't know how it was to be divided. Hattie Newsom had an estate of $900,000, about a quarter of which was willed to Susie Lynch.
Klenner became a suspect in the triple murder through his own statements, information from witnesses and the work of an undercover officer, Oldham said.
''He gave us key information only the killer would know,'' he said.
Authorities decided Monday to arrest Klenner because he was planning to leave North Carolina and because he had made threats against witnesses, but Oldham refused to elaborate.
''The crime is cleared; the case is closed,'' he said.
Investigators found ''numerous weapons and ammunition'' in Klenner's apartment, said Greensboro Police Detective Doug Schmidt. In addition, about 10 weapons, including an Uzi machine gun, automatic and semi-automatic weapons and some shotguns were found in the remains of the van.
The sheriff said what caused the explosion remained under investigation, but authorities had ruled out gunfire as a cause. Klenner had no previous criminal record, but was involved with survivalist groups with a heavy emphasis on firearms, he said.