ANCRAMDALE—A father and his young son were found dead in their home about a mile north of the Dutchess County line the morning of April 7, the apparent victims of murder/suicide.
A preliminary investigation by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office reveals that Franklin Hankerson, 42, of 9715 Route 82, allegedly shot his 5-year-old son Khaliff Hankerson with a 12-gauge shotgun, then used a different gun, a 40-caliber rifle to shoot himself. Both were shot in Mr. Hankerson’s bedroom and both died immediately, said Sheriff David W. Harrison, Jr, who conducted a press conference Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot between the Ancramdale Post Office and The Farmer’s Wife in the hamlet.
The bodies were discovered by the child’s grandfather Wednesday morning, but the sheriff believes the shootings took place around 11 p.m. the night before. He said neighbors reported hearing multiple gunshots around that time.
The sheriff said that Mr. Hankerson was unemployed and had some health issues that required him to undergo regular dialysis.
Mr. Hankerson had returned home from dialysis Tuesday night around 10:30 p.m. The boy’s grandfather was babysitting for the child until his father got home.
The grandfather, who was not identified by the sheriff, apparently lives next door and went to the Hankerson residence at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to pick up Khaliff and take him to pre-school somewhere in Dutchess County, as was their routine.
The child’s mother was never married to Mr. Hankerson and did not live with them, but has a residence in Pine Plains, said the sheriff.
Though there had been some minor custody issues between Mr. Hankerson and his son’s mother, the sheriff said it was nothing that required Family Court action and there was no history of domestic violence at the residence. The sheriff did say that Mr. Hankerson and the boy’s mother had previously had “a discussion or argument” about Mr. Hankerson’s alleged use of marijuana in the child’s presence.
No suicide note was found and there was no indication prior to the shootings that Mr. Hankerson “would do something like this,” Sheriff Harrison said.
The investigation is ongoing and autopsies are scheduled at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany.
Accompanying the sheriff at the press conference were Undersheriff James Sweet, Captain David Bartlett, Lieutenant James Andrews, Senior Investigators William Foster and Kevin Skype, Investigator Mark Dunspaugh and Coroner George Davis.
Assisting the Sheriff’s Office criminal investigators and Incident Scene Investigation Unit, were Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office officials and Pine Plains firefighters.
To contact Diane Valden email