Law enforcement canvassing Appomattox County murder scene for evidence and victim recovery

Charges are pending against an Appomattox County man being investigated for the deaths of eight individuals. Christopher B. Speight, 39, of Appomattox, Va., was taken into custody at approximately 7:10 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 20, 2010) after surrendering to SWAT Team members assigned to the security perimeter. Speight is cooperating with investigators.

Speight remained confined within the established law-enforcement security perimeter the entire time of the search operation. He managed to conceal himself overnight in the wooded area and then turned himself in to authorities at daybreak. At the time of surrender, Speight was wearing a bulletproof vest and did not have a weapon in his possession.

Virginia State Police crime scene technicians are currently processing the scene in the 3000 block of Snapps Mill Road/Route 703, as well as the wooded area within the secured perimeter. Bomb technicians and explosives-detection canines are also on scene to detect and render safe any potential incendiary devices. Based on information gleaned during the course of the investigation, there is a probability of explosive devices being found outside and inside the residence.

The Office of the State Medical Examiner has dispatched it Mass Casualty Team out of Roanoke to assist with victim recovery and identification, examination and cause of death. Once identifications of the victims are confirmed, their next of kin will be notified.

Speight’s motives remain under investigation. Charges are pending. The Appomattox Sheriff’s Office has consulted with the Office of the Appomattox County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Speight was acquainted with the victims and he had lived at the residence where the murders took place. He co-owns the residence, as well as owns land adjacent to the residence.

More than 150 personnel from the Appomattox County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office, Farmville Police, Lynchburg Police Department, Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, Amherst County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Conservation Police, Virginia National Guard, Holliday Lake State Park Rangers, and ATF were involved in the search and recovery of the suspect.

From a release.

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