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Man charged in deaths of children dumped in canal

/ Source: The Associated Press

The man police have long called their lone suspect in the deaths of two children found stuffed in luggage in a South Florida canal and the slaying of their mother was charged Thursday with first-degree murder.

Clem Beauchamp, 34, 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 girlfriend, Felicia Brown, who was the children's mother. Her body was found last year in a landfill. Beauchamp, Brown and her children lived together.

Prosecutors say the boy was killed by blunt-force injuries to the head, and the girl was killed by asphyxiation. 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. He said his office will seek the death penalty.

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 (one kilometer) 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. She was identified, in part, by her children's names, which were tattooed on her body.

Beauchamp's biological children have since been placed in state custody.