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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 March, 2004, 14:22 GMT
Man 'murdered his nine children'
Marcus Wesson
Marcus Wesson was arrested at the scene
A man has been arrested in the US on suspicion of murdering nine of his children, after a custody dispute.

Police found the bodies stacked in a pile of clothes at a house in Fresno, California after a stand-off. They also found ten coffins.

The victims are said to be a woman in her 20s, a 17-year-old girl and seven young children aged between one and eight years old.

Police commandos arrested Marcus Wesson, 57, after he gave himself up.

"We do believe at this time that the deceased individuals, most if not all, are the suspect's children," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

A body is removed from the house
Police removed nine bodies from a bedroom in the house
Police received a call on Friday afternoon from two women that a man had their children inside the house and refused to hand them over.

After a two hour stand-off with police, the man came out covered in what appeared to be blood and was arrested.

Police later found the ten coffins stacked up against a wall inside the home.

They have refused to say how the victims were killed, but a neighbour reported hearing a number of gunshots.

Chief Dyer said all the officers involved were totally shocked, and that some of those who entered the house first had needed counselling.

"I've been with the Fresno Police Department for 25 years, and I've never experienced anything of this nature," he said.

Mayor Alan Autry said: "The only thing we can do now is mourn. We mourn for the kids, we mourn for the police.

"We will never be the same again."

The BBC's Nicola Dann
"A custody battle that appears to have gone horribly wrong"


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