Police say man is charged in deaths of 4 in W.Va.

May 28, 2012 - 8:15 PM

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A man was charged Monday with murder in the deaths of four people — including two young children — whose bodies were found in a wooded part of central West Virginia, authorities said.

James Belknap was arrested Monday afternoon and faces four counts of first-degree murder, said West Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous.

Belknap was arrested at a roadblock not far from a crime scene that Baylous described as "gruesome." He declined to elaborate but added that investigating officers said it was one of the worst crime scenes they had ever seen, in part, because two of the victims were children.

"These guys are going to have a hard time dealing with all this," Baylous said.

He confirmed that the bodies found Saturday were those of a man, his girlfriend and two children, ages 6 and 4, who were missing since May 19.

Authorities have identified the slain man and woman as Steven Hendrix and his girlfriend, Amber Martin.

Police said the bodies were found about a mile from where the man's missing 2003 Chevy Venture van was discovered Friday night.

Belknap and the victims were "acquaintances," Baylous said, but he was unable to elaborate.

Another man who was driving the car that was stopped at the roadblock was charged with obstructing an officer and accessory after the fact to murder, Baylous said. That man, Mark Haynes, 53, and Belknap are both from the Leivasy area in Nicholas County, but Baylous was unsure how they knew each other.