Thursday, August 23, 2012

Charleston, WV: Baby found in home where murder-suicide took place

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A possible murder-suicide in a Hurricane subdivision is the first killing the Putnam County city has seen in more than 20 years.

It started with a text message.

Mike Mullins, Hurricane police chief, said Christopher Wayne Kinder, 41, texted a family member about 10 p.m. Wednesday. It said, "The door is unlocked, checking out."

The family member thought the message was strange and tried to call Kinder but didn't get an answer, Mullins said. They called 911 and asked an officer to check on their relative.

Mullins said officers never know what they will encounter when they perform a well-being check. In this case, it was a grisly scene inside a home in the Kelly's Cove subdivision, just off W.Va. 34.

Capt. J.S. Sisk said officers responded about 10:20 p.m. and knocked on the door but didn't receive an answer. An officer looked through a living room window and discovered Kinder dead on the couch.

Officers went inside and found Kinder with a gunshot wound to the head and a shotgun lying nearby.

Officers searched the home and found Kinder's girlfriend, Katherine Nicole Taylor, 34, dead in a back bedroom. Taylor was stabbed multiple times with a large kitchen knife, Mullins said.

"We believe at this point the boyfriend killed the girlfriend and then killed himself," Sisk said.

Her child, a baby girl believed to be nine to 12 months old, was found unharmed in the room with Taylor, the chief said.

"It was hard enough for the officers to deal with what happened there and to see that, but then to find a baby in the middle of it," Mullins said. "The first two officers that responded to the scene wanted to take the child out of there immediately."

Child Protective Services went to the home and released the baby girl to Taylor's mother.

The shotgun and kitchen knife were recovered, along with other guns, police said.

The bodies were taken to the office of the state Medical Examiner for autopsy.

Sisk said the department had no record of any previous calls from the home but one officer at the scene Wednesday night "could remember being out there before on an altercation or something."

No criminal complaints were found against Kinder or Taylor in Putnam Magistrate Court. There was no record of any domestic incidents at the home.

Mullins said family members told detectives the couple had been arguing.

"They said it wasn't anything new," Mullins said. "But something happened last night."

The chief has been on the Hurricane police force for more than 22 years and said the last murder in the town was in 1991.

Kevin Potts, 22, a Marshall University student from Ohio, was found shot in the head in a wooded area near the Hurricane rest stop on Interstate 64 in June of that year.

"Twenty years with no murders, that's Hurricane," Mullins said. "This is way out of our norm here and this subdivision, it doesn't look like anything like this could happen here."

Detectives still are investigating. Anyone with information can contact the Hurricane Police Department at 304-562-9911.

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