Local News

Sampson County Man Charged With Murders Of Mother, Siblings

Posted June 19, 2004 4:00 a.m. EDT

— A Sampson County man was in jail and charged with three counts of murder Saturday, a day after deputies found a woman and two children dead in their mobile home.

Deputies were called to the murder scene by concerned family members after a loved one did not show up for work.

After deputies found the bodies,

they began looking for 22-year-old Kenneth Hartley,

a family member who also lived in the mobile home. Investigators initially thought someone might have taken him and worried he could be in danger. But Saturday, Hartley was charged with killing his mother, brother and sister.

A day after the gruesome discovery, crime scene tape still marked Gail Tyndall's mobile home, but investigators were gone.

"The preliminary results at the scene show that the victims suffered stab and strangulation trauma," Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said.

When deputies went to the mobile home Friday, they discovered the bodies of Tyndall and her 2 children, 11-year-old Robert Bush and 13-year-old Triston Bush.

Investigators said Hartley has no criminal record, and family members said they did not know of any conflict in the home.

Deborah Register, who lives in the same neighborhood, said Tyndall was one of her closest friends.

"Ms. Gail was a very loving person," Register said. "I know that she loved her children. She was dedicated to her children."

The deaths hit Register's family hard. Triston Bush was her daughter's best friend.

"It's very upsetting to her," Register said. "We didn't go to bed last night til, like, 4 a.m. because she was really scared."

Register said she also knows Hartley well. She could not believe he was charged with his family's murder.

"It's just devastating to know that he could do somethinhg like this," she said. "I just don't understand it."