December 3, 2013 Parsons Kansas (KCTV) — The bodies of a mother and her three children were found slain inside their Parsons home Tuesday, and a suspect has been captured after a manhunt for him, authorities said.
David Cornell Bennett Jr., 22, of Cherryvale, KS, was taken into custody just before 10 p.m. Tuesday in Independence, KS.
The Kansas Attorney General’s Office provided no details of his arrest. No charges have been filed yet.
Cami Umbarger, 29, and her children were found inside the residence on 25th Street between Clark and Stevens avenues. The children were identified as 9-year-old-Hollie Betts, 6-year-old Jaxon Betts and 4-year-old Averie Betts.
Bennett was spotted earlier Tuesday in the Independence, KS, area, according to that city’s police department. The school district was made aware, but no schools were placed on lockdown, a district spokeswoman said.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said there was a confirmed sighting of Bennett at 12:45 p.m. at 3176 W. Main St. in Independence.
The district and other law enforcement agencies were instructed by the attorney general’s office to release few details on the search for Bennett. KCTV5 viewers reported that the Walmart in Independence, KS, was placed on lockdown because Bennett was reported in the area.
A spokesman for the Kansas Attorney General’s Office refused to say what had unfolded at that store.
“I cannot comment on elements of an active investigation,” Don Brown wrote in an email.
A manager for Walmart said at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, customers were free to come and go from the store but referred questions about what had unfolded earlier in the day to corporate headquarters.
Umbarger’s co-workers at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home said they became alarmed when she failed to show up for work on Monday morning. She was a nurse at the facility.
After co-workers called police, officers made the grisly discovery. The nursing home was just two miles from the family’s home.
A friend of Umbarger’s said that she met Bennett in a bar in Independence, KS.
The three children attended Parsons public schools, where counselors and staff worked to comfort children before the Thanksgiving break.
“We are doing our very best to continue school as usual for the students,” said Superintendent Shelly Martin. “We have extra staff on hand, extra counselors and substitutes available to work with staff and students as needed.”
Those counselors will be on hand after the holiday break to aid as needed.
The Labette County Attorney’s Office asked the attorney general’s office to lead the investigation.
Parsons has about 10,500 residents and is about 125 miles southeast of Wichita in Labette County. A candlelight vigil is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday in Parsons.
On Halloween, the city of Parsons said a 22-year-old man had been arrested for threatening murder-suicide on Facebook. That man was apparently Bennett.
The man was taken into custody and underwent a mental evaluation after posting the message. The Chanute Police Department was contacted about the message, and officers relayed the concern to the Cherryvale Police Department. Bennett was found by Parsons police at a motel in that city. He was arrested without incident.
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