MENA, Ark. (KTHV) -- Brian Travis is the man investigators believe killed four family members including two children. He appeared in court Monday morning.
He’s been charged with four counts of capital murder. Questions remain concerning why he allegedly killed them or his relation to the family. The judge placed a gag order; afraid if too much gets out in the small town, they won’t be able to find a proper jury.
"It’s just really hard on us because we're not used to it," said Mena Mayor George McKee. “I have a granddaughter, 2-years-old, and it just really tears me up."
2-year-old Acelynn Wester, 9-year-old Reilly Scarbrough, their mother 43-year-old Bethany Wester, and the children's great-uncle, 66-year-old Steven Payne, were all found murdered.
Those who live nearby say Wester and her children moved back home to Mena just a few months ago to be near family. They say she worked at a hospital, and that Reilly was doing well at his new school.
"We don’t expect these kind of things to happen in rural Arkansas and that’s why we live in rural Arkansas," said Benny Weston, Mena Public School Superintendent.
"[Reilly] was just a very active adventurous child and he had close friends in our school that has been deeply touched by this," said Paulette Sherrer, Federal Programs with Mena Public Schools.
37-year-old Travis is believed to be responsible. While in custody on unrelated charges last week, police say he led them to the boy’s body. Locals say he's not a stranger around Wester’s home, but police haven't released his relation to the family.
Travis is being held without bond. He also faces unrelated charges of bringing a controlled substance into a correctional facility.