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Parsons murder suspect in court Monday

By Lauren Seabrook, lseabrook@kwch.com
Adam Knapp, Writer/Web Producer, aknapp@kwch.com
Published On: Nov 26 2013 11:20:42 AM CST
Updated On: Nov 29 2013 11:36:24 AM CST
LABETTE COUNTY, Kan. -

The Kansas Attorney General's office says a man arrested in connection with the deaths of a woman and four children in Parsons will make his first appearance in court in Oswego on Monday.

A judge Wednesday found probable cause to hold 22-year-old David Cornell Bennett, Jr. in connection with the case.

The Attorney General's office says they will evaluate all evidence before making a decision on what charges to file in the deaths of 29-year-old Cami Umbarger and her three children.

AG Derek Schmidt says criminal charging decisions will be made as soon as possible, but not later than December 10. 

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Authorities in southeast Kansas have released new details after a man was arrested, accused of killing a woman and her three children.

David Bennett, 22, was arrested while walking along a street in Independence Thursday night. He was wanted for the deaths of 29-year-old Cami Umbarger, of Parsons, and her three children, ages 9, 6, and 4.

Bennett is being held on a $5 million bond. Labette District Judge Robert Fleming signed an order Wednesday that gives prosecutors until Dec. 10 to file charges against him.

Chief Harry Smith, Independence Police, said more than 100 officers were involved in the search, after a tip that Bennett had been spotted at a dollar store earlier in the afternoon.

Tracking dogs, aerial units and troopers assisted in the search.

Smith said Bennett's clothes were frozen, and sand burrs stuck to clothes because Bennett had been hiding in the woods.

Independence was about an hour away from the original crime scene. But Smith said Bennett used to work for a roofing company in Independence.

Police found all four of the victims when they checked Umbarger's home after she did not show up for work on Monday.

Friends and family of Cami Umbarger say Bennett was not wanted in her life. "They met at some party and he just became stalker-ish. He wouldn't leave her alone. Her friends kept telling her call the police, leave him alone, quit calling him back," said Donald Betts, father of the three children.

Beth Umbarger says her sister Cami and her three kids Hollie, Jaxon, and Averie were supposed to be in her wedding in two months. "I couldn't have asked for a better sister. She was going to be my maid of honor in my wedding. I'm getting married in January and she was going to be standing right there with me," said Beth Umbarger.

Beth says she cannot make sense of what happened to her family. "Your whole live can change in a second. You just never know what is going to come. Yeah, it's unfair and I'm mad, and I'm sad, and I'm hurt, and I don't understand why. I don't understand why he would hurt my sister or the babies. The babies never did anything," said Beth Umbarger.

A woman who did not want her identity revealed says her daughter Samantha worked at a gas station in Cherryvale, where Bennett is from. That woman says Bennett also stalked Samantha and got physical with her when she broke up with him. "I think it should've been stopped a long time ago when my daughter worked at Casey's. If it would've been stopped then, then that woman and her kids would still be alive," said the woman.

Betts says Cami Umbarger knew something was not right with Bennett. He says she tried to keep him away. "Cami had her head together. She had her career. She worked hard through nursing school and she cared about her babies, her friends and her family. She was very family oriented. If there was too much drama in her life, she didn't want that. She didn't need it," said Betts.

Eyewitness News also learned Wednesday Bennett went to high school in Wichita. Wichita Public School leaders confirm he went to Heights for a few months and attended West, Northwest, and East High Schools, but did not graduate from the district.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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