They began looking for him when his ex-wife Angela and two other people were found murdered in Candler. Detectives believe Heatwole was the killer.
The other victims are identified as 44-year-old Divina Gracia Agulto, who was renting a room at the home, and 43-year-old Lesley Curtis Moore Keogh, who lived next door.
Police initially issued an Amber Alert for the couple's children: 10-year-old Haley Heatwole and her brother, 6-year-old Hayes Heatwole.
The standoff began when they tracked Heatwole to the cousin's house. It ended when Heatwole apparently took his own life.
He died of a "self-inflicted gunshot wound," according to Dillingham.
The two children are now being returned to other family members in Buncobe County.