As preparations are underway for the funeral for a mother and her three children slain this week, the residents of the small Kansas town of Parsons are grieving their deaths.
A vigil was held Wednesday night for Cami Umbarger, 29, and her children. When Umbarger didn't show up for work on Monday, concerned co-workers alerted police, who would later find the bodies.
The children were identified as 9-year-old Hollie Betts, 6-year-old Jaxon Betts and 4-year-old Averie Betts.
Funeral services will be on Monday.
After an extensive manhunt, a suspect was taken into custody Tuesday night in Independence, KS.
Police are holding David Cornell Bennett Jr., 22, of Cherryvale, KS on a $5 million bond. He could face four counts of first-degree murder. He is being held on $5 million bond.
Labette District Judge Robert Fleming signed an order that gives prosecutors until Dec. 10 to file charges against Bennett.
Bennett was captured shortly after 9
p.m. Tuesday in Independence while walking and talking on his cellphone
to a friend who alerted authorities to his whereabouts, Independence
Police Chief Harry Smith said Wednesday.
Cami Umbarger's cousin, Tara Umbarger of Fredonia, said Wednesday that her cousin met the suspect around the end of September and had gone out with him a couple of times. She says he had been stalking her, according to the Associated Press.
The children's father, Donald Betts, said he is second-guessing himself about whether he could have done more to keep Bennett away from his loved ones.
He said his children were "what I live and breathe for," and he doesn't understand how anyone could hurt innocent children.
"I used to be the baby daddy that was like, 'No, you can't have this guy around my kids.' And the one time I chose not to, something like this happens," the weeping man said. "I know I shouldn't beat myself up over it because it's not my fault but I wish people would please, please watch who is around your kids. Watch who you let in your lives."
Tara Umbarger, of Fredonia, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Cami Umbarger had met Bennett around the end of September and went out with him a couple of times.
She said he began calling her 30 or 40 times at a time, at times making threats.
"He was basically stalking her and wouldn't leave her alone," Tara Umbarger said. "She was trying to get away. He wasn't leaving her alone."
But Cami Umbarger never filed a complaint with police and was the type of person who probably thought he wasn't serious, her cousin said, adding Cami Umbarger probably just "blew it off."
Tara Umbarger described her slain cousin as a "very good mom" who loved her kids and worked hard for them.
"I don't want (people) to remember this bad thing," Tara Umbarger said of the killings. "It wasn't that she was a bad person -- she just somehow ... got mixed up with him somehow."
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