RAEFORD, North Carolina — The Fayetteville Observer reports two young children who were reported missing in Fayetteville on Friday were stabbed to death by their father who believed his wife had cheated on him, according to the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office.

“It was horrific,” Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said early Saturday.


30-year-old Tillman Freeman III

The children are Genesis Freeman, who was 4 days old, and Serenity Freeman, who was age 2. The girls’ father is 30-year-old Tillman Freeman III of Fayetteville. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, the Sheriff’s Office reported on its Facebook page around 6:20 a.m. today.

Their bodies were found about 2 a.m. today, Peterkin said in an interview. They were in a car that had been driven about 200 yards into woods off Army Road, which is in western Hoke County between Raeford and Aberdeen, he said.

It appeared that the children were stabbed multiple times there with a hunting or survivalist-type knife, Peterkin said.

The girls’ deaths appear to stem from a conflict on Friday between Freeman and their mother, whose name has not been released.

Freeman made comments that he thought his wife had been seeing another man and that the children were not his, Peterkin said.

The children went missing while their mother was at a hospital, the Fayetteville Police Department reported on Friday. Freeman had taken them, Peterkin said, and Fayetteville officers began looking for him and the children.

Around 4 p.m. Friday in Raeford, Peterkin said, employees at a doctor’s office on Prospect Avenue called the Raeford Police Department to report a suspicious-appearing man standing in front of their building. It was Freeman.

Raeford officers went to speak to him, Peterkin said, and while they were with him, Fayetteville officers learned they had him. The Raeford police kept Freeman for the Fayetteville police, who went to Raeford and picked him up, Peterkin said.

The Fayetteville department arrested Freeman on charges of two counts of child abuse and two counts of child endangerment. Shortly before 9 p.m., the department began issuing desperate pleas on social media seeking information or other assistance from the public that could help locate Genesis and Serenity.

At some point when he was being questioned by Fayetteville officers, Peterkin said, Freeman indicated that the children were in Hoke County and he might have harmed them.

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