Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Suspect Arrested in Quadruple Murder; ‘Worst Crime Scene’ Investigators Had Seen

James Belknap. Police photo.

Police in West Virginia arrested James Roy Belknap, 26, yesterday on suspicion of killing four people, two of them children.  The naked bodies of Steven Hendrix, his girlfriend Amber Martin, and their two young children, Dakota, 6, and Kaylee, 4, were found in a wooded area on Saturday.  They had been missing since May 19.  West Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous called the crime scene “gruesome,” and said it was one of the worst crime scenes his investigators had ever worked on.  According to authorities, the killing was motivated by drug money.  While Hendrix and family were missing, detectives learned that Belknap owed Hendrix some drug money.  When Hendrix went to Belknap’s Leivasy home to collect the debt, Belknap allegedly shot all all four members of the family then dumped their bodies near his property.

After the bodies were discovered, police set up road blocks around Belknap’s property.  They finally got their suspect after a truck, driven by a man named Mark Haynes, tried to get past police with Belknap as the passenger. Haynes was charged with accessory to murder after the fact and obstruction.  Haynes told police that Belknap came to his house and asked him for a ride.

In 2005, Belknap was charged with murder after his father killed a man over drugs and burned his body.  Kenneth Belknap, now serving life in prison, denied his son’s involvement in the crime.  In exchange for the murder charge being dropped, James Belknap pleaded guilty to delivery of cocaine in 2007 and served a year in prison.

See also:

Two Indicted in Killings of Florida Teens Nicholas and Jeremy Stewart

Holly Grigsby and Joey Pedersen: A White Supremacist Couple’s Alleged Murder Spree

Naked Assailant Gunned Down by Police While Cannibalizing Victim’s Face

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