January 30, 2018 / 5:37 PM / in 5 months

Suspect faces murder charges in killing of Missouri couple, daughter

(Reuters) - A suspect in the stabbing and shooting deaths of a young couple and their infant daughter was expected to be arraigned on murder charges in Missouri this week, authorities said on Tuesday.

Drew Atchison appears in a booking photo provided by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office on January 30, 2018. Wayne County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS

Drew Atchison, 24, was charged with three counts of first degree murder, kidnapping and other crimes, after the bodies of the three victims were found on Monday in Butler County, Missouri, about 130 miles south of St. Louis, authorities said.

The couple, Harley Million, 24 and Samara Kitts, 23, were murdered at their home in neighboring Wayne County on Thursday following a dispute between Atchison and Million, the Butler and Wayne County Sheriff’s Offices said.

Atchison is currently being held in Wayne County, the Sheriff’s office said. It could not immediately be determined if he had a lawyer. No defense attorney was listed in the court filing about his case.

A court date for Atchison’s arraignment has yet to be set, but is expected this week, the Wayne County Circuit Court Clerk Darren Garrison said.

Atchison admitted stabbing Million “in a fit of rage” before he stabbed Kitts in the neck, the Butler Sheriff’s Office said in a statement, although the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said he slit their throats.

He left their 17-month old daughter Willa Million at the house while he took the couple’s bodies to Butler County and buried them, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office said. The next day he returned to the house, took the little girl to the same burial spot and shot her, it said.

In a statement filed with the Wayne County Court, that county’s Sheriff’s Office said it discovered Million’s empty pickup truck with blood in its bed on Friday, and later spoke with Atchison’s brother, whose residence is nearby. That led them to the suspect, who admitted being in the Million’s home and killing them with a knife, the court statement said.

A Facebook message posted by a woman on behalf of Million’s sister said Million and Kitts were not married but had been together for eight years and were “amazing parents to Willa.”

Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas

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