UPDATE: Fourth death confirmed in Polk County; suspect identified | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, April 29, 2017

UPDATE: Fourth death confirmed in Polk County; suspect identified

Posted By on Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 5:55 PM


UPDATE: The body of Reilly Scarborough has been found, bringing to four the number of family homicides in Polk County. The nine-year-old was found in woods west of Hatfield.

Here's what we reported earlier, with some updates:

The Polk County Pulse Facebook page
posted the video from Mena of Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer reporting Friday on the discovery of the body of a two-year-old girl in a developing multiple homicide case.

A search continues today for a missing boy, just under 10 years old.

Bethany Jo Wester, 43, was found dead in a creek near Cove Tuesday. Her uncle, Steven Payne, 66, was found dead later in a home in Hatfield. Wester's two children, Reilly Scarborough, 9, and Acelyn Wester, 2, hadn't been seen since Sunday. Acelyn Wester's body was found near Cove Friday. Searchers still are looking for her brother.

BRIAN TRAVIS: Suspect in four slayings.
  • BRIAN TRAVIS: Suspect in four slayings.
In his emotional statement Friday, the sheriff said authorities are not talking about potential suspects or manner of death, but the cases are all viewed as homicides. Events this week have also included the arrest of Bethany Jo Wester's  boyfriend, Brian Bliss Travis, 37, on a drug paraphernalia charge.  UPDATE: The sheriff said at a news conference this afternoon that they expected to charge him in the deaths.

The Polk County Pulse, covering the news conference, says Travis assisted authorities in finding bodies. Here's video of the sheriff's news conference. He didn't discuss the means of death or provide any details about the series of events, except to say he expected capital murder charges to be filed against Travis. The sound is marred by wind.


UPDATE: Travis was arraigned Monday in Circuit Court and ordered held without bond. 40/29 reports that the State Police  said in arrest warrant affidavit that Travis confessed to the slayings and led them to the final body that was recovered. On-line records indicate he's had many previous brushes with the law, including on burglary, theft and breaking and entering charges.

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