Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

April 13, 2012

UPDATE: Manhunt continues for suspect who abducted child

Police search for local man suspected in murder of wife, abduction of 8-year-old daughter

CAMP CREEK — Investigators have reason to believe that a missing girl and the father who abducted her Thursday are still in the area.

Sgt. M.D. Clemons of the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment said it is believed that Christina Marie Atwell, 33, mother of 8-year-old Porshia Atwell, was killed prior to Thursday. Tracey Lee Atwell told his parents on Thursday he had killed his wife before abducting his and Christina Atwell’s daughter Porshia, who was in her grandparents’ custody.

There has been no indication of a motive in Christina Atwell’s death, but there was a history of domestic violence, Clemons said. Christina Atwell was found dead at a residence in the Rock area of Mercer County Thursday, police said.

The father and daughter were last seen between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the Mercer Street and Thorn Street areas of Princeton on Thursday, according to Clemons.

“He doesn’t have a lot of cash or credit cards, so he will probably stay around this area,” Clemons said. “We don’t think he can make it far out of the state with the information we have about him right now.”

Clemons said Tracey Atwell is a known intravenous drug user and police have extended the search for him into McDowell, Monroe, Summers and Raleigh counties in West Virginia as well as Giles County, Va.

“We are blanketing the area,” Clemons said. “We are watching the county borders.”

Sgt. M.S. Haynes with the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment said law enforcement are “still actively searching” for Tracey Atwell and have advised anyone who sees him to not approach him, but to immediately call 911. Haynes said Tracey Atwell has been charged with armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping, grand larceny, and one count of child abduction. Haynes said Tracey Atwell has not been charged with the murder of his estranged wife.

Officials with the West Virginia State Police previously told the Daily Telegraph that Tracey Atwell arrived at his parents’ home in Camp Creek where he proceeded to tie them up and abduct his 8-year-old daughter. Tracey Atwell told his parents he had killed his wife before taking off in their white 1999 Jeep Cherokee Laredo. Haynes said Tracey Atwell’s parents were physically unharmed and did not need to be treated for any injuries.

Porshia Atwell is described as a white female who measures 4 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs approximately 75 pounds with blonde hair. She is believed to be “in extreme danger,” police said.

Tracey Atwell, 38, is described as 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs around 180 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. There is the possibility the two are traveling in a white Jeep Cherokee Laredo with West Virginia license plate number 6C3202.

Anyone with information should contact the West Virginia State Police at 304-425-2101, dial *SP on a cell phone, or call their local 911 Emergency Dispatch.

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