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Hearing scheduled for man charged in deaths of Parsons family - KOAM TV 7

Hearing scheduled for man charged in deaths of Parsons family

Suspect - David Cornell Bennett, Jr. Suspect - David Cornell Bennett, Jr.
The scene in Parsons, Kansas.  (Photo by KOAM-Fox14 reporter Liz Holliday) The scene in Parsons, Kansas. (Photo by KOAM-Fox14 reporter Liz Holliday)
Law enforcement searching vehicles at the Walmart in Independence. (Photo by KOAM-Fox14 reporter Kelly Reid) Law enforcement searching vehicles at the Walmart in Independence. (Photo by KOAM-Fox14 reporter Kelly Reid)

Obituary for Cami Jo Umbarger and her three children

Memorials suggested to the Parsons Recreation Center
Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home
P.O. Box 374
Parsons, KS 67357

Court Documents

Complaint filed December 3, 2013 (PDF)

Updated January 22, 2014:  A status hearing for a man charged in the death of a Parsons woman and her three children is scheduled for March 21.  The Kansas Attorney General's Office also told us today that the autopsy results of Cami Jo Umbarger and her children are sealed.

David Cornell Bennett, Jr., Cherryvale, is charged with one count of capital murder in connection with the deaths of Umbarger and her family.

 

Updated December 4, 2013 at 5:15 PM:  NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF KANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL DEREK SCHMIDT

AG Schmidt update: December 4 hearing on Labette County homicides

OSWEGO -- (December 4, 2013) – David Cornell Bennett, Jr., Cherryvale, today appeared in court and was advised of charges filed against him, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Schmidt has charged one count of capital murder in connection with the deaths of Cami Jo Umbarger, 29, Parsons, and her three minor children. In the alternative to the capital murder charge, Schmidt filed four counts of first degree premeditated murder. The Attorney General also filed charges of one count of rape and two counts of criminal threat.

District Judge Robert J. Fleming scheduled Bennett's next court appearance for January 17 at 1 p.m. in Oswego.  Bennett remains in custody in the Labette County jail on $5 million bond.

Criminal prosecution is being handled by the Kansas Attorney General's Office at the request of the Labette County Attorney. Criminal charges are merely accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

The Kansas Attorney General's Office and other involved agencies are bound by the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 3.6, Trial Publicity, and Rule 3.8, Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor.

Media inquiries should be directed to Don Brown, Director of Communications for the Kansas Attorney General's Office, 785-296-3459.

###

 

Updated December 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM:  Bennett's court appearance ended at about 2:30 p.m.  Watch the proceeding here:  December 4 court appearance

Updated December 4, 2013 at 2:15 PM:  The first appearance in court for David Cornell Bennett has just begun. Bennett is charged in the deaths of Cami Jo Umbarger and three of her children.

 

Updated December 3, 2013 at 4:10 PM:  NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF KANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL DEREK SCHMIDT

PARSONS -- (December3, 2013) -- Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today filed charges of capital murder, rape and criminal threat against David Cornell Bennett, Jr.,Cherryvale.

Schmidt charged one count of capital murder in connection with the deaths of Cami Jo Umbarger, 29, Parsons, and her three minor children. In the alternative to the capital murder charge, Schmidt filed four counts of first degree premeditated murder. The Attorney General also filed charges of one count of rape and two counts of criminal threat.

Under Kansas Law, a conviction of capital murder can carry sentencing options of either the death penalty or life in prison with no chance for parole.

District Judge Robert J. Fleming has scheduled Bennett for a court appearance tomorrow, December 4, at 2 p.m. in Oswego. Bennett remains in custody in the Labette County jail on $5 million bond.

Criminal prosecution is being handled by the Kansas Attorney General's Office at the request of the Labette County Attorney. Criminal charges are merely accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

The Kansas Attorney General's Office and other involved agencies are bound by the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 3.6, Trial Publicity, and Rule 3.8, Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor.

Media inquiries should be directed to Don Brown, Director of Communications for the Kansas Attorney General's Office, 785-296-3459.

# # #

 

Updated December 2, 2013 at 5:55 PM:   A Southeast Kansas family is remembered and honored as a community gathers to mourn.

Funeral services were held Monday afternoon in Thayer Kansas, followed by a large procession to the cemetery for the burial of 29-year-old Cami Umbarger, nine-year-old Hollie Betts, six-year-old Jaxon Betts and four-year-old Averie Betts.

They were found dead in their Parsons, Kansas home a week ago.

People lined the processional route, including a group on horseback.

"God bless everybody that's here and the family," says Robert Allen Eaton, a family friend who organized the riders.  "I believe this will be a great honor to them."

Memorials are suggested to the Parsons Recreation Center.  Those can be sent through the Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home in Parsons.

You can also send condolences through the funeral home's website.

 

Updated December 2, 2013 at 11:15 AM:  David Cornell Bennett Jr., of Cherryvale, appeared via video in a court hearing held this morning at the Labette County courthouse in Parsons.

Bennett has been in custody since November 26 in connection with the deaths of Cami Umbarger, 29, and her three children in Parsons.

During Monday's hearing the judge announced the state attorney general has until December 10 to file formal charges.

Bennett, who is being held on a $5 million bond, responded with concerns about how long he would remain in jail.

 

Updated November 29, 2013 at 11:30 AM - NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF KANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL DEREK SCHMIDT

AG Schmidt update: Southeast Kansas homicide suspect

PARSONS – (November 29, 2013) – The Kansas Attorney General's Office will thoroughly evaluate all evidence before making charging decisions in connection with the deaths of Cami Umbarger, 29, and her three minor children, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

David Cornell Bennett Jr., Cherryvale, was arrested Tuesday night in Independence. On Wednesday, District Judge Robert J. Fleming found probable cause to hold Bennett in connection with the matter. Bennett is scheduled for a first appearance Monday, December 2, at 11:00 a.m. in Oswego. Bennett remains in custody in the Labette County jail.

Criminal charging decisions will be made as soon as possible, but not later than December 10, Schmidt said. Information about charging decisions will be announced by the Attorney General's Office as soon as they are made, hesaid.

Any criminal prosecution resulting from the investigation will behandled by the Kansas Attorney General's Office at the request of the Labette County Attorney.  Any charges that might arise from the investigation aremerely accusations. Individuals are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

The Kansas Attorney General's Office and other involved agenciesare bound by the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 3.6, Trial Publicity, and Rule 3.8, Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor.

Media inquiries should be directed to Don Brown, Director of Communications for the Kansas Attorney General's Office, 785-296-3459.

###

 

Updated November 27, 2013 at 3:06 PM
NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE LABETTE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE


On November 27, 2013 at 01:05 hrs. David C. Bennett Jr - age 22 of Merriam, KS was transported by Labette County Deputies to the Labette County Jail, following his arrest in Montgomery County.

Bennett is currently being held on a Detention Order citing four counts of first degree murder.  A bond has been set at $5,000,000.00.

The Attorney General's Office has been designated the primary source of information to the media concerning Bennett's charges and subsequent investigation.

No further information is available at this time...

Robert D. Sims
Labette County Sheriff

# # #

 

Updated November 27, 2013 at 2:05 PM:  The City of Parsons has confirmed that a man suspected in the deaths of a Parsons woman and her three children had been in custody recently after posting a message on social media describing a murder-suicide he allegedly intended to commit.

David Cornell Bennett, Jr., 22 of Cherryvale, is in custody for the deaths of Cami Jo Umbarger and her children, Hollie, Jaxon and Averie.

On October 31 KOAM posted a news release regarding an unidentified 22-year-old Cherryvale man who had been taken into custody.  On Wednesday, an official with the City of Parsons confirmed that man was Bennett.

ORIGINAL NEWS RELEASE FROM THE CITY OF PARSONS

Police arrest man who threatened murder-suicide via Facebook

PARSONS, KS — A 22-year-old Cherryvale man is in custody and currently undergoing mental evaluation after using social media to post a warning message describing a murder-suicide he allegedly intended to commit.

The initial call reporting the Facebook status was called in to the Chanute Police Department, who then contacted the Cherryvale Police Department, the man's hometown. Cherryvale Police officers received reports that the man had been dropped off at a local motel in Parsons, and Parsons Police were contacted.

At around 4:30 p.m. yesterday, Parsons Police officers arrested the man without incident at the motel.

# # #

 

 

Updated November 27, 2013 at 10:30 AM:  Funeral services have been scheduled for Parsons woman and her three children.  That information is below.

Also, a candlelight vigil for Cami Jo Umbarger and her children, Hollie, Jaxon and Averie, will be held Wednesday evening starting at 7:00 p.m. at the home - 415 North 25th Street in Parsons.

 

FROM FORBES-HOFFMAN FUNERAL HOMES

Cami Jo Umbarger, 29, and her children, Hollie Betts, 9, Jaxon Betts, 6, and Averie Betts, 4, of Parsons, died at their home in Parsons.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, December 2, 2013 at the Thayer Christian Church. Burial will be at Thayer Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 3-6:00 p.m., Sunday, at the Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home in Parsons.

Memorials are suggested to the Parsons Recreation Center. These may be left at or mailed to the Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, KS 67357.

Complete obituary details will be announced by the funeral home.

Online condolences may be left at www.forbeshoffman.com.

# # #

 

Updated November 26, 2013 at 10:15 PM: According to a Press Release sent from Montgomery County, suspect David Cornell Bennett Jr. was apprehended at 9:15 on Tuesday 11/26/13.

From the Kansas Attorney General's Office:

INDEPENDENCE – (November 26, 2013) –Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt's Office confirmed that homicide suspect David Cornell Bennett, Jr., was apprehended tonight in Independence, Kan., by law enforcement officials. The investigation remains ongoing.

Any criminal prosecution resulting from the investigation will be handled by the Kansas Attorney General's Office at the request of the Labette County Attorney. No charges have been filed. Any charges that might arise from the investigation are merely accusations. Individuals are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

The Kansas Attorney General's Office and other involved agencies are bound by the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 3.6, Trial Publicity and Rule 3.8, Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor.

# # #

 

Updated November 26, 2013 at 9:35 PM: Montgomery County Sheriff's Department confirms suspect, David Bennett Jr. has been caught and is in custody at this time. We will post more information as it becomes available to us

 

Updated November 26, 2013 at 4:45 PM by Liz Holliday and Kelly Reid:  A woman and her three children have been found dead in Parsons, Kansas.  Now, a manhunt is underway in Montgomery County, Kansas.

Authorities say Cami Umbarger and her three children were reported missing Monday morning when Umbarger did not show up for work.

On Tuesday the Kansas Attorney General confirmed all four have been found dead in Parsons.  The Kansas Attorney General is now in charge of the case and not releasing many other details at this time.

Cami Umbarger was 29 years old and worked as a nurse at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Parsons.  Her three children - Averie, Jaxon and Hollie were ages four, five and eight - sometimes attended the Parsons Church of the Nazarene.

We spoke with the minister.

"Precious gifts from God - just beautiful smiles... your typical young children," says Pastor Christie Walker.  "They smiled, they laughed, there were some tears when they were here because they didn't want to be left by themselves without their relative that brought them.  Just precious, there are no words but that."

Those we spoke to who knew the family are left asking why.

"This is a horrible tragedy," says Shari Coatney of Thayer.  "There isn't enough explanation to how this could happen or why this would happen and this family is going to turn to God and turn to the church for strength."

"I think people search for answers, they search for reasons to make sense of it," says Pastor Walker.  "One of the the teachers from our church just said 'give me anything to tell my kids.'"

Authorities have identified a suspect in the case.  He's David Cornell Bennett Jr., 22 of Cherryvale, Kansas.

Tuesday afternoon's manhunt has been focused on Independence, Kansas.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's office reported that Bennet had been spotted at a Dollar General Store at around 12:45 p.m.

A few hours later the crews were dispatched to a nearby Walmart.  Crews blocked off all exits and did not allow anyone to enter the building for about 20 minutes.  Crews cleared the scene and activity there has returned to normal.

Bennett is described as a black male, 22 years of age.  He's 5'5" and 145 pounds with brown eyes.  Bennett is considered to be armed and dangerous.

Authorities say if you see Bennett to not approach him... call 911 immediately.

 

Updated November 26, 2013 at 4:15 PM: KOAM reporter Kelly Reid says things are calming down at the Walmart in Independence and the entrance has been reopened. Law enforcement had been searching cars as they left and did not allow anyone into the building for a short time.

 

Updated November 26, 2013 at 3:55 PM:  KOAM reporter Kelly Reid says law enforcement is now at the Walmart in Independence, searching cars as they leave and not allowing anyone into the building.

 

Updated November 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM:  The suspect in the deaths of a Parsons woman and her three children were last seen at a Dollar General Store in Independence.  That's according to our reporter at the scene.

Reporter Kelly Reid says officers from the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Cherryvale Police Department, Independence Police Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol are still on the scene.

David Cornell Bennett, Jr., of Cherryvale, Kansas, is a suspect in the death of Cami Umbarger and her three children.

 

Updated November 26, 2013 at 1:21 PM:  NEWS RELEASE FROM THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Residents should be on the lookout for a black male, 22 years of age, 5 ft 5 inches tall, weight 145 pounds, brown eyes.  Individual is a suspect in a multiple homicide.  Last confirmed sighting was today at approx. 12:45 p.m. at 3176 W. Main St. in Independence.  Contact 911 if sighted.  Suspect should be considered armed and dangerous – do not approach.

# # #

 

Updated November 26, 2013 at 11:22 AM:  NEWS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF KANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL DEREK SCHMIDT

Kansas Attorney General's Office statement on Parsons investigation

PARSONS – (November 26, 2013) – The Parsons Police Department, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies are investigating the deaths of four individuals in Parsons. The deceased individuals are identified as Cami Umbarger, 29, and her three minor children.

Authorities are seeking a suspect, David Cornell Bennett, Jr., of Cherryvale, Kan.

Any criminal prosecution resulting from the investigation will be handled by the Kansas Attorney General's Office at the request of the Labette County Attorney. No charges have been filed. Any charges that might arise from the investigation are merely accusations. Individuals are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

The Kansas Attorney General's Office and other involved agencies are bound by the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 3.6, Trial Publicity and Rule 3.8, Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor.

# # #

 

Posted November 26, 2013 at 11:20 AM:  Police have blocked off a neighborhood in Parsons, Kansas.

A missing persons investigation has created a lot of online chatter in Southeast Kansas but officials are releasing very few details.

On Monday the Parsons Police Department received a call for a well-being check on a 29 year old woman and her three children.

There were reports that Cami Umbarger and her kids were missing.

The City of Parsons says this is an ongoing investigation.  We're told the case has been handed over to the Kansas Attorney General's office.

We do have a reporter on the scene, who says Parsons police and crime scene units have blocked off 25th and Clark Streets.

We are following this story closely and will bring you the latest confirmed information as it comes available.



 

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