The three bodies were discovered Monday night near Wesley, Arkansas, a small community east of Fayetteville. A baby was found safe with the suspected killer.
WESLEY, Ark. — A 22-year-old suspect has been arrested in Central Arkansas in relation to three people found dead in a home near Wesley, Arkansas, a small community in Madison County.
Washington County Prosecutor Matt Durrett confirmed with 5NEWS Hunter Chenoweth, 22, from De Queen, is being held by law enforcement in connection with the deaths.
The three bodies were discovered Tuesday (Feb. 23) night.
Arkansas State Police arrested Chenoweth on Wednesday (Feb. 24).
Durret said Chenoweth and the three people found dead had some sort of family connection, but he did not further elaborate on their relationship. The victims have been identified as Tami Lynn Chenoweth, 51, James Stanley McGhee, 59, and Cheyene Chenoweth, 26.
Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division Special Agents called to the crime scene were able to begin developing leads in the case, prompting a statewide search for two particular vehicles known to have been at the residence earlier in the day and possibly driven away from the crime scene by the killer.
Information was also developed identifying a child believed to have been at the home who was abducted by the killer or a woman who had also been at the crime scene.
State troopers assigned to the Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division found one of the vehicles abandoned in Faulkner County along Interstate 40 near Mayflower.
Troopers secured the truck and transported it to state police headquarters where special agents began searching for evidence associated with the Madison County homicides and child abduction.
Around 10 p.m., Highway Patrol Division troopers spotted a van matching the description of the second crime scene vehicle traveling westbound along Interstate 30 near Benton.
As state troopers initiated a traffic stop, a passenger in the van exited the vehicle armed with a rifle and began verbally provoking the troopers who had made the traffic stop. Simultaneously other troopers moved-in from behind the gunman and were able to arrest Chenoweth.
The driver of the van stopped by state police was a 25-year-old De Queen woman. Also in the van was the abducted infant, less than one-year-old. The child was unharmed and later released to the Department of Human Services.
The unidentified female driver has been questioned by state police and released.
Chenoweth was being held at the Saline County Detention Center without bond and is being transported to Madison County.
Formal charges associated with the homicides will be determined by the Madison County prosecuting attorney.
Arkansas State Ploice say an AMBER alert was almost issued for the missing baby.
In a statement, they said:
“The homicide investigation was running parallel to preparing the documentation that would be used to issue an AMBER Alert…an alert was only minutes away from activation when troopers began to move in on the suspect.”
In February of 2020, Chenoweth was arrested in Washington County for domestic battery and endangering the welfare of a minor after he stabbed his stepfather, seriously injuring him, in front of a 17-year-old.
He failed to appear to his court date for these charges in March of 2020, another Class C felony.
Madison County residents say they are shocked something like this happened in their area.
“I heard about these murders that happened out here it’s wild I’ve never heard anything like that in my life living out here,” Kiser Mooney said.
Please check back for updates to this developing story.