EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSAMBER ALERT CANCELLED
from Eyewitness News Online
Murder and Kidnapping Suspect Arrested; Family To Be Reunited With Granddaughter
Reported by: Kristin Keeling
Web Producer: Kristin Keeling
Also Contributing: Dan Matics, Leslie Rubin
Reported: Apr. 12, 2012 7:14 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 16, 2012 3:21 PM EDT
Princeton , West Virginia
A three day manhunt for a suspect accused of murdering his estranged wife and then kidnapping his daughter is finally over.
It's been an unimaginable two days for the Atwell family in Mercer County. They say it was a nightmare they never saw coming. Their son, Tracey Atwell, was on the run with his daughter, 8-year-old Porsche, after allegedly murdering his estranged wife, Christina.
"I don't think he intended to do what he had done. He told me it was basically an accident and he tried to revive the woman," said Porsche's grandfather, Willard Atwell.
Eyewitness News talked to Willard Atwell nearly 48 hours into the search for Tracey and Porsche. Not only was the family left to wait and worry, they were allegedly tied up inside their own home and robbed by Tracey before he took off with Porsche on Thursday.
Numerous police agencies searched by air and ground, and an amber alert was issued for Porsche.
"If you're friends with Tracey or Tracey has contacted you, put Porsche in front of everything else. There's that where you want to protect your friend and family member but we've got a little kid out there," said Sgt. Melissa Clemons from the West Virginia State Police.
"I don't know where you've got her. Is she cold? That's everyone's primary concern. There is literally dozens of police after you," said Willard Atwell.
Just hours after that plea from Willard, Tracey and Porsche were finally found Saturday evening in Mercer County. Police say Tracey made several cell phone calls that helped them pinpoint his location.
Porsche was found unharmed, and Tracey was arrested.
"It's just like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders to know that she's okay and that he's been taken in and without incident. No one wanted there to be incident when he was being taken in," explained Sgt. Clemons during a news conference Saturday night.
Willard Atwell shared a statement with Eyewitness News on Sunday afternoon: "We're relieved Porsche is alright. Tracey just gave up and he did not resist police. We want to thank police for all that they did. They were very nice to our family. They conducted their job like professionals."
We're also told Porsche is still in CPS custody. She's supposed to be released to her grandparents sometime on Monday. Tracey Atwell is charged with murder and kidnapping among several other felony charges.
The Amber Alert for Porsche Atwell has been cancelled.
Police caught Tracey Atwell shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of Nubbins Ridge Road and Egeria Road in Mercer County.
Porsche Atwell was recovered safely from the vehicle. Her father, Tracey, was taken into custody without a struggle.
In a news conference, Police said several phone calls made by the suspect Saturday helped them pinpoint his location.
Police said there were no marks on Porsche, but there are reports that she was slightly malnourished.
Tracey was driving the white Jeep stolen from Porsche's grandparents house two days prior.
The capture ends a two-day manhunt that involved multiple law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and West Virginia State Police.
New information out of Mercer County as investigators continue to search for a murder suspect and his daughter.
Eyewitness News is told Tracey Atwell called his family Friday afternoon and let them speak to the his daughter, Porsche, and as of then, she was okay.
Investigators believe the two are still in the state, but as of Friday night, Atwell is still on the run and believed to be armed and dangerous.
Police believe Atwell killed his estranged wife, Christina Marie Atwell, 33, in Rock, and then went to his parents' home in Camp Creek, tied them up and robbed them. That's when he kidnapped his daughter and took off. Atwell is wanted on murder, kidnapping, and robbery charges.
West Virginia State Police in Mercer County have issued an Amber Alert for a child allegedly abducted by a murder suspect, who is her father.
Police say they are looking for Tracey Lee Atwell, 38, in connection with the murder of his wife.
Atwell then allegedly abducted his daughter, Porsche Atwell, 8. She was last seen in Camp Creek, and wearing unknown clothing. She is 4'2", 75 pounds.
She is said to be in extreme danger.
They may be traveling in a 1999 white Jeep Cherokee Laredo with WV plate number 6C3202.
State police tell Eyewitness News that Atwell is accused of murdering his wife two days ago. Around 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, he allegedly went to his parents house in Camp Creek, tied them up with zip ties, and pointed a gun at them. That's when he allegedly took Porsche and hasn't been seen since.
He is possibly armed with a .357 magnum.
Any information call 911 immediately.
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