SANDY LAKE — State police searched Monday in Mercer County for a man wanted in connection with a double homicide in Crawford County.

Jack Elijah Turner, 21, of Cochranton, is wanted in connection with the shooting deaths of Shannon Whitman, 49, and her 10-year-old son, according to the Pennsylvania State Police Meadville barracks.

A relative found the bodies of Whitman and her son about 10 p.m. Saturday at a residence on Guys Mills Road, Randolph Township, Crawford County. Police believe Turner stole Whitman’s car, a gray-silver 2009 Lincoln MKS sedan with the license number KXW5126.

Police were called to the scene by Scott Whitman, owner of the residence and a relative of the victims, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed against Turner relating to the vehicle theft.

The exact time of death was still under investigation, Crawford County Coroner Scott Schell said. Autopsies were scheduled Tuesday for both victims. 

Police described Turner as a white man with dark brown hair, brown eyes, about 5 feet 11 inches tall, and weighing 145 pounds. He is charged in the vehicle theft with unlawful taking of movable property through the office of District Judge Amy L. Nicols in Crawford County.

Police said Turner also is a suspect in the armed robbery of a gas station early Sunday morning.

Lt. Donald Kucenski, investigative services division commander, said the Kwik Fill gas station at 3360 W. 38th St., Millcreek was robbed about 5:30 a.m. Sunday by someone who looked like Turner.

Kucenski said police are also reviewing video of the robbery from inside the convenience store. No one was hurt in the incident.

Crawford County Court of Common Pleas issued a warrant for Turner after he failed to appear July 8 for sentencing in an unrelated case. Turner was to have been sentenced on misdemeanor charges of terroristic threats and disorderly conduct, and four summary offenses. 

State police did not say why investigators believed Turner was in the Sandy Lake area. Sandy Lake police Chief Mark Jaskowak said he had spoken with state police officials, but could not comment on the investigation.

Stoneboro posted a warning from the borough’s police department to ask residents to use caution while state police searched for Turner. The warning told residents to lock their cars and houses, and to be aware of their surroundings.

A witness later told police that she saw Turner driving the Whitmans’ vehicle about 8:30 p.m. Sunday near the library in Titusville, but there are no reports of anyone seeing him him since. Shortly before 5 p.m. Monday evening, state police said they were still searching for Turner.

A state police shift supervisor in Meadville said that if the vehicle is spotted by the public, the driver should be considered dangerous.

The Pennsylvania State Police Troop E Major Case Team is leading the homicide investigation.

Anyone with information can call the state police barracks in Meadville at 814-332-6911, or send tips anonymously by private Twitter messages to @PSPTroopEPIO.

The Meadville Tribune contributed to this story.

Recommended for you