DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Florida police say they are questioning a suspect in the deaths of two children whose bodies were stuffed into luggage and dumped into a canal.
Delray Beach Sgt. Nicole Guerriero said that Clem Beauchamp was being questioned Thursday night. She did not release his age. Neighbors say he lives in a house that police had cordoned off.
Investigators say they have tentatively identified the children as siblings but have not released their names or if Beauchamp is related to them. They have said the girl was between 6 and 10 years old and the boy between 10 and 12.
Their bodies were found Wednesday. The girl's body was in a duffel bag. The boy was discovered hours later in a suitcase about a half-mile away.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Two children whose bodies were found stuffed into luggage and dumped in a canal were apparently a brother and sister killed in some kind of domestic violence, authorities said Thursday.
As the hunt for clues intensified, police surrounded a house near the waterway and searched its perimeter. Divers used sonar and a remote-controlled submarine to scour the canal. No arrests had been made.
Authorities did not know how long the bodies — a girl between 6 and 10 and a boy between 10 and 12 — had been in the canal. Autopsy reports were not immediately released.
The girl's body was found Wednesday in a duffel bag. The boy was discovered hours later in a suitcase about a half-mile away.
"We believe that this situation is domestic-related," said Sgt. Nicole Guerriero, a spokeswoman for the Delray Beach Police Department. She declined to elaborate and said officers were "working to confirm everything we believe."
The wide canal flows east to west through this oceanside town southeast of West Palm Beach. The water is bordered by modest homes, tiny wooden docks and small motor boats, and dotted on either side with the lush green of palms and other trees.
Debbie Duarte, who lives along the canal, said the neighborhood is usually quiet. Before now, she said, the most surprising thing to turn up in the waterway was a bag of marijuana.
"For parents not to say their children are missing, either the parents are dead or the parents did it," she said.
Throughout the day, small boats of divers and other police combed the canal for clues. Guerriero said they found nothing.
Under a tree near the banks of the canal, a tiny makeshift memorial took shape, with a teddy bear, a hippo spotted with pink hearts and two bunches of carnations.
Police surrounded a small peach-colored house in a nearby neighborhood, but officers would not confirm any link to the case.
Reporters and curious residents converged on the home, which was surrounded by unkempt, spindly bushes and had a car parked on the front lawn. Hurricane shutters covered a side window.
Kenneth Marshall, 43, who sometimes stays with his mother across the street, said he often saw a man at the house playing football with his boys in the street.
"He really paid a lot of attention to his kids," Marshall said.
Marshall said he last saw the children two or three weeks ago.
"We've been asking for the mom for a couple days, and all he's been saying is, 'She's in jail,'" he said.
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