MENA, Ark. – Arkansas authorities say the great-uncle of two missing children has been found dead in his home not far from where the body of the children's mother was found in a creek earlier this week.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says 66-year-old Steven Payne was found dead Thursday in his home in Hatfield in far western Arkansas.
Hatfield is about 4 miles southwest of where the body of Payne's niece — 43-year-old Bethany Jo Wester of Mena — was found this week.
Sheriff Scott Sawyer told reporters the deaths are being investigated as homicides and the search continues for Wester's two children, 9-year-old Reilly Scarbrough and 2-year-old Acelynn Wester.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children says the children were last seen late last week. Authorities say they're considered endangered.