DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – A convicted felon suspected in the deaths of two children found in a South Florida canal was jailed Friday on unrelated weapons charges as police scoured his home for evidence.
Court records show the weapons charge dates to 2009, when officers found a homemade silencer inside a bag with a knit hat and a Halloween mask that they said belonged to Clem Beauchamp, 34, of Delray Beach.
Beauchamp has not been charged with any crime related to the children's deaths, but police said he was their only suspect. On Friday, investigators sifted through his small home and towed away cars.
After Beauchamp was questioned in the children's deaths by Delray Beach police Thursday night, federal agents arrested him on the unrelated weapons charge, which will keep him behind bars as the investigation continues.
Court documents show the silencer was found in the trunk of a repossessed car that belonged to a woman neighbors said was Beauchamp's girlfriend.
Beauchamp denied any involvement with the silencer, according to court documents. It's not yet known if he has an attorney.
Authorities said they still hadn't received autopsy reports on the children and weren't releasing their identities or their relationship to Beauchamp.
Sgt. Nicole Guerriero, a spokeswoman for the Delray Beach Police, said detectives were not searching for other bodies. But she said the mother of the dead children had not been found.
"We haven't been able to confirm where the mother is at this point," she said. "That's concerning us."
West Palm Beach police said they were checking to see if there was any link between the children's bodies and that of a woman found dead in the trash in December.
Chase Scott, a spokesman for the West Palm Beach Police Department, said the woman has not been identified. There was no definitive link to the bodies in the canal, but detectives were probing the possibility, Scott said.
Beauchamp's neighbors have described a complicated family situation in which multiple children who had different mothers lived with him. In 2008, Beauchamp fought an ex-girlfriend for — and won — the right to have two children live with him. Neighbors said another girlfriend was the mother of other children who lived with him.
"I'm there to make sure they do their homework, to give them the proper guidance that they would need to succeed in life," he told a judge at an August 2008 custody hearing. "Being a father means more than just making the kid. You actually got to be there for them. And I'm prepared to do all that."
Beauchamp has a lengthy criminal record and has spent time in jail.
Margaret Gissone, 22, said he hit her sister, his ex-girlfriend, several times.
"He got a mean streak to him," she said.
In recent days, those who know Beauchamp said they noticed some changes: He cut off his dreadlocks and could be found, late at night, sunk to his knees in prayer at a neighborhood church.
"He said he was trying to change his life," said Kenneth Marshall, 43, who sometimes stays with his mother across the street from Beauchamp.
The two children's bodies were found in the water Wednesday, about a half-mile and six hours apart. The girl, believed to be between 6 and 10 years old, was stuffed into a duffel bag. The boy, found inside a suitcase, was said to be 10 to 12.
Police have said they believe the children are siblings.
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