Police charge man in death of 4 in West Virginia

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A man was charged Monday with murder in the deaths of four people, including two children, whose bodies were found in woods in central West Virginia, authorities said.

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

Belknap was arrested at a roadblock not far from the crime scene. Baylous said investigating officers described it as 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.

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

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, Mark Haynes, 53, was driving the car that was stopped at the roadblock and charged with obstructing an officer and accessory after the fact to murder.

Baylous was unsure how they knew each other.