A man was charged Thursday with murdering his ex-girlfriend and her two children, who were found stuffed in luggage in a South Florida canal, months after police first called him their lone suspect in the case.
A prosecutor said he would seek the death penalty against Clem Beauchamp, 34, who had been held behind bars since March on an unrelated gun charge while police completed their investigation into the children's deaths.
Jermaine McNeil was just 10 years old, and his sister Ju'tyra Allen was only 6.
Beauchamp also is charged in the death of his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Felicia Brown, 25, who was the children's mother. Her body was found last year in a landfill. Beauchamp lived with Brown and her children before her death.
Prosecutors say the boy was killed by blunt-force injuries to the head, and the girl was killed by asphyxiation. Authorities would not elaborate on how the children died, and the autopsy results have not been released. The mother's cause of death was not disclosed.
"We go from shock and anguish at the horrific loss of life to a determination that the individual responsible for these crimes be held to account," said Michael McAuliffe, the local state attorney, who held a news conference to announce the charges after the grand jury returned its indictment.
Authorities have not discussed a possible motive in the case.
"It doesn't get much worse than what occurred down there that day," said Tony Strianese, chief of Delray Beach Police.
A message left for Beauchamp's public defender was not immediately returned. Beauchamp's attorney has previously said the man was not involved in the deaths of Brown or her children.
Ju'Tyra's body was found stuffed in a duffel bag in a Delray Beach canal on March 2. Jermaine's body was found hours later, a half-mile away in the same canal, which 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.
It was only after the children's bodies turned up that detectives were able to identify Brown _ her children's names were tattooed on her body.
McAuliffe wouldn't say if anyone else might face charges in the case. He said the investigation continues.
Beauchamp pleaded guilty last month to the federal gun charge as part of a plea deal and is awaiting sentencing.
Beauchamp's biological children have since been placed in state custody.