Michigan Mom Amy Henslee Found Dead

Husband tells ABC News volunteer sniffer dogs found his daughter's body.

January 28, 2011, 9:26 AM

Jan. 28, 2011 — -- Amy Henslee, the Michigan mom of two who vanished from her home three days ago, was found shot to death early this morning, police said. Her body was found buried with the corpse of another woman.

"Unfortunately, the investigation that began with the disappearance of Amy Henslee this past Monday evening culminated this morning with the discovery of her body and also the body of Tonya Howarth," Van Buren County Prosecutor Juris Kaps said.

Junior Lee Beebe, 34, was arraigned today on two counts of open murder and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He is being held at Van Buren County Jail without bond. Beebe is the cousin of Henslee's husband.

"It appears that they both died of multiple gunshot wounds," Kaps said.

Howarth, 36, was dating Beebe, the prosecutor said. Investigators are still determining the relationship between Henslee and Howarth.

Henslee, 30, left willingly from her home Monday morning with Beebe, investigators said. She left with just her black coat and Puma sneakers.

"Everything indicated that there was no physical confrontation when she left," Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler said.

Henslee's husband, James Henslee, told ABCNews.com that while police were interviewing Beebe a volunteer group called Michigan Working Dogs went to the dead woman's house in Hartford Township where the dogs were given Amy Henslee's scent.

The dogs were then taken to Beebe's home in Bangor Township, six miles from Henslee's house, where they picked up her scent again and led them to Henslee's grave, James Henslee said.

The bodies were identified by photographs and tattoos.

The husband was clearly emotional while talking, choked up at times and taking long pauses between sentences.

"I'm still holding up. I have Amy with me," he said.

Their two sons, he said, "are as good as you can expect. I'm keeping them occupied with their friends."

Suspect in Amy Henslee's Murder Was Mixed-Martial Arts Fighter

A friend of Howarth said that she had been with Beebe for several years. Howarth had two daughters who weren't currently living with her, the friend said.

"She was like a big sister to me," Stefanie Hankins said. "I hadn't seen her [Howarth] in a while because Beebe was her boyfriend and he beat her and I kept telling her one of these days he's going to end up killing you."

Kaps indicated that Beebe had a record. "He has some prior contact with criminal justice system," the prosecutor said.

Beebe has beeen arrested seven times between 1995 and 2005, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported. He's been arrested in the past on charges of larceny, drug possession and driving while impaired, the newspaper reported.

Beebe, nicknamed "JB," participated in mixed-martial arts fighting competitions. He was a member of the Southwest Michigan Ultimate Combat Fighting, a group of amateur mixed martial arts fighters.

Beebe's Facebook profile shows pictures of him at the matches and several pictures of him with black eyes and injuries to his face.

Jeff Hill, founder of the amateur boxing group, said that Beebe joined the group about eight months ago. Beebe won a fight last weekend in three rounds, Hill said. Howarth, the girlfriend Beebe is accused of murdering, attended the fight.

Hill is shocked by the charges against Beebe, describing him as mild-mannered and not very aggressive in the boxing ring. He had a losing record of 3-6.

Search for Amy Henslee Ends With Discovery of Grave

Police initially said that they believed Henslee was still alive and had left home voluntarily. But today they concluded that Henslee and Howarth were murdered on Monday morning, the day Henslee disappeared.

James Henslee, Amy Henslee's husband, discovered that his wife had seemingly vanished when she didn't answer his phone calls from work.

He is not a suspect in his wife's murder, police said.

"Time's going by and you're just worried that you're not going to find her and that's what kills you the most," James Henslee said Wednesday.

He last saw his wife when he kissed her goodbye as he headed to work Monday at 7:30 a.m. The couple's two young boys, 8 and 10 years old, had already left for school.

When James Henslee, 32, went to call his wife on his 10 a.m. break, she didn't pick up. He kept calling, becoming increasingly concerned because she had no car.

One of the family's cars wasn't working, forcing James Henslee to use what was normally his wife's vehicle.

Worried, James Henslee left work early, returning to home in Hartford Township to find the door locked and his wife missing.

He enlisted the help of friends and both his parents and Amy Henslee's parents to look for the woman. He called police at 4:20 p.m. on Monday to report that she was missing, police said.

James Henslee described his wife to police as someone who is afraid to open the door if it's a stranger and doesn't routinely leave the home to go for a walk or a jog.

A detailed examination of the home showed no tracks leading from the home. Amy Henslee does not have a cell phone, police said. She was not working, but had previously worked at a department store until September of last year. The disappearance shocked the small town of 3000 people.

"This is totally out of character," Wendy Boyd, a friend of the couple, said. "Anyone who knows Amy knows she would never not be home for her children."

Boyd last saw her close friend recently at a school gym where both their children were playing basketball games.

"We were all in the same gymnasium together … of course, always a big hug, always a big smile, 'I love you, I miss you.' I said, 'OK, I hope Jared [Henslee's son] has a wonderful game, I miss you baby girl and I'll see you later,'" Boyd said.

Boyd and other friends and family of the couple blanketed the town with pictures of Amy Henslee.

A memorial page on Facebook has been created, which already has over 5000 members.

Amy Henslee's Disappearance Ends in Murder

Boyd said on Thursday that the disappearance was taking a toll on Amy Henslee's two sons.

"The oldest one, he will not open up to anyone about his feelings," she said. "He's really clammed up to the point where it is making him sick to his stomach. … The youngest one, Jonah, who's very happy-go-lucky, a lot like his mother, he will be fine for 10, 15, 20 minutes and very quickly he will turn and it turns into uncontrollable crying for his mother."

One of the sons will turn 11 years old tomorrow.

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