‘Be on alert’: Man wanted for questioning after death of woman inside Gardner home, DA says

GARDNER, Mass. — When police officers were called to a Cherry Street home around 9 a.m., Sunday, they found a woman dead inside. Four young children were also found inside that home, and are now safe and in state custody, authorities said.

Now, there is a manhunt for 33-year-old Aaron Pennington of Gardner, who is wanted for questioning in connection with the death of the Gardner woman, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early told reporters on Sunday night.

Aaron Pennington should be considered armed and dangerous and may be armed with a firearm, according to Early and state police.

“We’re concerned. Everyone should be on alert,” Early told reporters.

Early said that authorities believe Pennington is driving a white 2013 BMW Model 320 with a Massachusetts Veteran Plate reading 8A30.

Anyone who sees Pennington or this BMW is urged not to approach him and to call 911 immediately, state police said.

Authorities described Pennington as a white male with blonde hair, and blue eyes, standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall, and weighing approximately 175 pounds.

Pennington was identified as the father of the children found inside the home. They are ages 2, 5, 7, and 9, Early said.

“The children are safe. We’re looking for him,” Early said.

“He always walked his kids they were outside playing all the time,” said neighbor Matthew Eaton.

Officers were called to a large, white Colonial at 42 Cherry St. around 9 a.m. Sunday. When officers arrived, they found the woman dead inside. Authorities have not identified the woman who was found dead.

The Colonial home is Pennington’s last known address, state police said. According to city property records, Pennington co-owns the house and bought the home in June 2022.

State police detectives assigned to Early’s office and Gardner Police are investigating.

Authorities have closed off Cherry Street in the city, as investigators combed through the house on Sunday night.

“You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors I guess,” said Eaton.

Anyone with information about Pennington’s whereabouts is asked to call Massachusetts State Police at 508-829-8236 or Gardner Police at 978-632-5600.

Pennington’s Facebook page identifies him as a member of the U.S. Air Force and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Gardner is located west of Fitchburg in Worcester County. The city had a population of 21,287 residents in the 2020 census.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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