Registered: Apr 2003
Local time: 11:55 AM
Location: In my castle
Nine Dead in California Saga of Incest, Polygamy
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A California man is to be charged with murder on Saturday after nine bodies -- including children he apparently fathered in incestuous, polygamous relationships -- were found in his home, police said.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters three babies, four older children, a teenager and a woman aged 24 were found dead in the home of Marcus Wesson, 57, after police were called to a custody dispute there on Friday afternoon.
"This is obviously the worst mass murder case that we have had in the history of our city," Dyer said.
"It appears that there's four women that we believe that are the mothers of children ... that were killed, that (Wesson) is perhaps the father of most if not all of the individuals that were there," he said.
"The most disturbing news ... was the fact that perhaps two of the children that were found deceased were both his children and his grandchildren."
Wesson, who was in custody and was cooperating with the investigation, would be charged with nine counts of murder later on Saturday, the police chief said.
The murders have rocked this central California city of 425,000 people, part of one of the nation's most productive agricultural regions.
Ten empty coffins were found in the house, police said, though their intended use had not yet been determined. Dyer said they may have been used for clothing storage, or were to be broken down and used to build furniture.
Police arrived at the house in response to a call over a child custody dispute. Two women outside the house wanted Wesson to return their children, Dyer said.
Wesson refused to let the officers into the house and barricaded himself inside a back bedroom. Police negotiators and a SWAT team were called in, but before the SWAT team arrived, Wesson, wearing bloody clothes, walked out of the house and was detained.
Police entered the house and discovered the victims stacked one on top of the other, intertwined with clothes, Dyer said.
Authorities had not yet determined when the killings took place or the cause of death, Dyer said, but added that neighbors had reported hearing gunshots.
The dead were a one-year-old boy, two one-year-old girls, four children aged between four and eight, a 17-year-old girl and a 24-year-old woman, police said.