Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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April 13, 2012

Police search rural Montcalm-Rock area for Atwell

CAMP CREEK — In the early morning hours Saturday, law enforcement officers, ATVs and a helicopter converged on the rural Montcalm-Rock area of Mercer County  in search of a man who is believed to have killed his wife, robbed his parents and abducted his 8-year-old daughter.

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, 38, 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 and drug abuse, Clemons said. Christina Atwell was found dead at a residence in the Rock area of Mercer County Thursday and her remains have been sent to the West Virginia State Medical Examiner’s office, according to officials with the West Virginia State Police.

The girl and her father were last seen Thursday between 2 and 3 p.m. in the vicinity of Mercer and Thorn streets in Princeton, Clemons said. According to Clemons, Tracey Atwell is a known IV drug user.

“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 police have extended the search for Atwell into McDowell, Monroe, Summers and Raleigh counties in West Virginia as well as Giles County, Va.

For more on this story and other news, see Saturday's Daily Telegraph or log on to bdtonline.com.

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