Kan. man arrested in murders of mother, 3 children

PARSONS, Kan. – A 22-year-old suspect in the deaths of a woman and her three children was arrested after a massive manhunt, police say.

CBS affiliate KCTV reports that David Cornell Bennett Jr., was taken into custody Tuesday night but has not been formally charged.

The search for Bennett began Monday when 29-year-old Cami Umbarger was reported missing, Independence Police Chief Harry Smith said.

The bodies of Umbarger and her three children, Hollie Betts, 9, Jason Betts, 6, and Averie Betts, 4, were found late Monday night in Parsons.

Kansas murder.jpg
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. CBS affiliate KCTV

Details about how the victims were killed or their relationship to Bennett have not been released by authorities.

More than 100 law enforcement officers, plus canine search teams and aircraft from numerous agencies were involved in the search, which quickly focused on Independence, where the Bennett works at a roofing firm, Smith said.

Officers spotted Bennett walking along the street about a block from the local hospital and arrested him at gunpoint. He made no statements during the arrest, Smith said.

Bennett's clothes were soaking wet and frozen when he was found in the frigid evening temperatures that dipped to a low of 18 degrees.

"We were very miserable and we were dressed a whole lot better than he was," Smith said.

The Kansas attorney general's office has said it would prosecute any ensuing case.

Umbarger's sister, Beth Umbarger of Wichita, told The Wichita Eagle on Tuesday that she had heard Cami Umbarger "went out a few times" with the Bennett. But she said the single mother broke up with him after he "started acting pretty scary."

"She'd been trying to stay away from him and he just kept coming back," said Beth Umbarger. "She was just hoping that he would leave her alone ... and she would be able to move past it."

Police learned Cami Umbarger was missing after co-workers called police Monday when she didn't show up for work, facility administrator Joanna Wilson said. Umbarger was a licensed practical nurse who worked at the Good Samaritan Society nursing home.  

Parsons schools called in extra counselors to talk to students and staff about the deaths of the three children.

According to the station, Bennett had been taken into custody on Halloween after he allegedly threatened a murder-suicide on Facebook. He was later released after a mental evaluation.

Parsons, a town of about 10,500 residents,  is located about 125 miles southeast of Wichita.