Father dead after standoff, children safe

January 2, 2009 11:57:47 AM PST
A standoff between a man accused of killing his ex-wife and two other people ended after police found the man dead Friday.Buncombe County Sheriff's Office spokesman L. Ross Dillingham said the standoff began when 45-year-old Richard Heatwole fled with the children to a cousin's home in Taylorsville. That's in Alexander County about 90 miles northeast of Candler, which is near Asheville.

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.