WEST CLARKSVILLE — Teams of law enforcement officers searched the hills Thursday around Courtney Hollow Road in the town of Clarksville for 17-year-old William J. Larson Jr., who is being sought for questioning related to a suspected double homicide and arson fire.
State police said Larson, reportedly a senior at Portville Central School, was identified at the scene of 8472 Courtney Hollow Road while a fire in the Allegany County home was being extinguished. Larson then reportedly left the location prior to troopers arriving. He is described as being 5 feet, 9 inches with brown hair and blue eyes.
"If located do not approach," a state police bulletin stated. Anyone with information is urged to call (585) 344-6200.
State Police Maj. Edward Kennedy, commander of Troop A, which is headquartered in Batavia, said there is concern that Larson could be armed because weapons were found in the residence.
Law enforcement officers, including K9 units, were searching the Courtney Hollow area and a helicopter was flying over the area throughout the day. State police from Troop E, which includes Steuben County, were also involved in the search.
Kennedy said troopers responded at 12:45 a.m. to the scene of a structure fire at after firefighters at the blaze reported finding two bodies in the residence.
Earlier reports indicated that the victims appeared to have been stabbed, but Kennedy could not confirm or deny whether the victims died of stab wounds or as a result of the fire.
West Clarksville volunteer firefighters, as well as volunteers from Cuba and Friendship, responded to the fire.
The Cuba Police Department issued a statement around 5 a.m. calling for residents to shelter in place.
“We are attempting to assist the New York State Police with an incident that has occurred in the Town of Clarksville. We are asking that all Cuba residents shelter in place and do not answer your doors. If you must go about your business please do so with extra caution,” the post stated. “If you feel that there is someone at your door or on your property who doesn’t belong there do not answer or let them in call 911 immediately. We cannot release any additional information at this time. Our goal is to ensure that all Cuba residents are safe. Additional information will be released once it becomes available.”
Portville Central School District — the district that includes the site of the fire — and neighboring Cuba-Rushford and Bolivar-Richburg school districts are closed this morning.
A message on the Portville Central School District website stated: "We are using an abundance of caution due to a developing situation that may impact school security."
The Cuba Circulating Library reported it will be closed for the duration of the shelter in place.