Crime

Teen, mom & stepdad were strangled to death in 2017. Family didn’t give up on finding killers.

Anthony Hester
Anthony Hester Williamsburg Police Department

Three Indiana men have been charged with murdering three members of a Whitley County family.

Emogene Bittner; her husband, Christopher Bittner; and her son, 16-year-old Robert “Little Man” Kennedy III, were found dead at a house off Deep Creek Road in September 2017. The Whitley County sheriff said at the time that all three were thought to have been strangled.

Williamsburg police announced that Anthony L. Hester was arrested early Friday in a joint operation involving U.S. Marshals, the Indianapolis Metro SWAT Team and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Two other men who also are from the Indianapolis area had already been apprehended in connection with the case, police said.

Darnell Chivers was being held on unrelated charges in Hamilton County, Ohio, when officials charged him with the murders.

chivers.jpg
Williamsburg Police Department

Jeremy S. Hatfield was arrested by the sheriff’s department in Vigo County, Indiana, and was extradited to Whitley County late last month.

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Williamsburg Police Department

All three men are charged with three counts of murder, first-degree burglary and tampering with physical evidence.

The Williamsburg Police Department said a member of the victims’ family had asked the mayor of Williamsburg in July 2018 if the police department could initiate a second investigation in the case.

The sheriff’s department had also investigated.

Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird told WKYT that the suspects “had some ties with the family.”

Kathy Faulkner, Emogene Bittner’s mother, reportedly found her daughter’s body inside the home and then found the bodies of her grandson and son-in-law outside while deputies were on their way to the home.

She praised the Williamsburg police for doing “so much with so little” to solve the case.

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