Coroner identifies mom and three children killed in Fort Wayne home; vigil held

Crime

Victims' family calls killings 'horrific'

Carter Mathew Zent, Ashton Duwayne Zent and Aubree Christine Zent

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Allen County coroner has identified the mother and three children who were found killed in a southeast Fort Wayne home Wednesday morning, and Fort Wayne Police have made an arrest in the slayings.

Police and medics were called around 10:45 a.m. to a home at 2904 Gay Street, a block south of East Pontiac Street, on a problem unknown, according to the police activity log.

Inside the home, authorities found three children and a woman all dead. In a media release, Dr. E. Jon Brandenberger, MD, identified the three as Sarah Nicole Zent, 26; Carter Mathew Zent, 5; Ashton Duwayne Zent, 3; and 2-year-old Aubree Christine Zent. The three children died from multiple stab wounds while the mother died from strangulation and stab wounds.

Police spokesman Sgt. Jeremy Webb called the scene “gruesome.”

Cohen Bennett Hancz-Barron

“It’s a very gruesome scene in there,” said Webb. “There are three murdered children. We need the public’s help to track down this suspect.”

The suspect is 21-year-old Cohen Bennett Hancz-Barron. Webb said friends and family identified him as a suspect.

Afterward, police asked for the public’s help to find Hancz-Barron. He was to be considered “armed and extremely dangerous,” and possibly driving a black 2010 Ford pickup that had been stolen earlier Wednesday morning.

Around 5:15 p.m., Fort Wayne Police said Hancz-Barron was arrested at an apartment complex in Lafayette. The arrest was made through a “joint effort” between FWPD Homicide, Gang and Violent Crimes Unit, Vice and Narcotics Unit, and the Indiana State Police.

He was being transported back to Fort Wayne, where he was expected to be booked into the Allen County Jail on four counts of Murder.

A representative from the victims’ family provided a statement to WANE 15 Wednesday:

“This is a very devastating time for our family. Please give us time to process the horrific events that have occurred today.  Our daughter was a very special person to our family. Please be respectful of our family’s privacy at this time.”

A large police presence was at the home throughout midday Wednesday, and residents gathered outside a crime scene. One neighbored called the killings “sickening.”

Anyone with any additional information about the incident is asked to call Fort Wayne Police.

A vigil was held Thursday night at the Gay Street home with hundreds of community members, family and friends coming together to remember the lives lost.

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