Image: Police investigation along canal
Jon Way  /  AP
Delray Beach police set up a video camera Thursday along the bank of a canal to look for evidence in the deaths of two children whose bodies were stuffed into luggage.
By
updated 3/4/2011 8:48:06 PM ET 2011-03-05T01:48:06

The boy and girl whose bodies were found stuffed into luggage and thrown into a south Florida canal are believed to be the children of a woman found dead in a landfill last summer, police said Friday.

Investigators said they have positively identified siblings Jermaine McNeil, 10, and Ju'tyra Allen, 6, as the children found dead in a canal on Wednesday. They believe their mother, Felicia Brown, is the woman whose body was found in a West Palm Beach landfill last August.

    1. Hoffman withdrew $1,200 hours before death: sources

      Philip Seymour Hoffman withdrew a total of $1,200 from an ATM at a supermarket near his New York City apartment the night before he was found lifeless in his bathroom with a syringe still in his left arm, sources told NBC News.

    2. NYC mayor will skip St. Pat's parade over gay ban
    3. Indiana man back home 18 years after abduction
    4. 32 states in the path of another wild storm
    5. Judge vows quick ruling on Va. marriage ban

Sgt. Nicole Guerriero, a spokeswoman for the Delray Beach Police, said the three lived with Clem Beauchamp, who investigators say is their only suspect in the deaths. He has not been charged with their slayings but is being held on an unrelated weapons charge.

Police said they didn't expect any charges in the case for several days, at the earliest. Meantime, the release of the victims' identities Friday horrified friends and relatives, including Brown's sister, 22-year-old Margaret Gissone.

"There were a lot of things I wanted to tell her that I hadn't told her yet," she said.

  1. Only on NBCNews.com
    1. OWN via Getty Images
      From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
    2. pool via Reuters file
      US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
    3. China: One-child policy is here to stay
    4. NRA: Practice Range
      New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
    5. 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
    6. AFP - Getty Images
      China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
    7. AFP - Getty Images
      French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali

Friends and neighbors said they had been asking Beauchamp about Brown's whereabouts for months, but he had an explanation.

"He said she was in jail," said Kenneth Marshall, 43, an acquaintance of the family.

Three other children who lived in Beauchamp's home were taken from his girlfriend and put into custody of the Department of Children and Families, Guerriero said Friday. The girlfriend was questioned in the killings but is not considered a suspect, police said.

After Beauchamp was questioned in the children's deaths by Delray Beach police Thursday night, federal agents arrested him on the weapons charge, which will keep him behind bars as the investigation continues.

Court records show the weapons charge dates to 2009, when officers found a homemade silencer inside a bag with a knit hat and a Halloween mask. On Friday, investigators sifted through his small home and towed away cars.

The silencer was found in the trunk of Brown's repossessed car, documents show.

Beauchamp denied any involvement with the silencer, according to court documents. It's not yet known if he has an attorney.

His neighbors have described a complicated family situation in which multiple children who had different mothers lived with him. In 2008, Beauchamp fought an ex-girlfriend for — and won — the right to have two children live with him. Neighbors said another girlfriend was the mother of other children who lived with him.

"I'm there to make sure they do their homework, to give them the proper guidance that they would need to succeed in life," he told a judge at a custody hearing. "Being a father means more than just making the kid. You actually got to be there for them. And I'm prepared to do all that."

Beauchamp has a lengthy criminal record and has spent time in jail. Gissone said she had seen him hit her sister on two occasions.

"He got a mean streak to him," she said.

In recent days, those who know Beauchamp said they noticed some changes: He cut off his dreadlocks and could be found, late at night, sunk to his knees in prayer at a neighborhood church.

"He said he was trying to change his life," said Marshall.

The two children's bodies were found in the water Wednesday, about a half-mile and six hours apart. The girl's body was stuffed into a duffel bag, and the boy's was in a suitcase.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Investigators search for clues in kids' grisly deaths

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments