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Posted at 05:52 PM ET, 09/18/2012

Man suspected in 2009 Va. killings found dead

Skeletal remains found in a wooded area of Bath County have been identified as the man charged with killing two co-workers at The Homestead resort in 2009, Sheriff Robert Plecker said Tuesday.

Plecker said clothing, eyeglasses and a handgun found with the remains earlier this month had authorities thinking it was Beacher Hackney. DNA tests confirmed it.

“Relief is an understatement,” Plecker said of the reaction in the rural county of about 4,000 residents, where the double murder ranked as the most heinous crime in recent memory.

Hackney was wanted on capital murder and firearms charges after allegedly shooting two supervisors at the posh resort because he was angry about being assigned to work the kitchen’s busy dinner shift. The 60-year-old Covington man vanished into the woods, the last glimpses of him recorded on the resort’s surveillance cameras. He was added to the U.S. Marshals’ 15 Most Wanted fugitive list in July 2011.

Two people found the remains on private land near The Homestead’s Lower Cascades golf course in Hot Springs. Plecker says the site about 8 miles from the resort was not part of an area that was extensively searched with tracking dogs and cadaver dogs after the March 21, 2009, shootings.

“This was not even an area that was in speculation because it was so far from the hotel,” Plecker said.

He said a handgun of the same caliber as the one used in the slayings of Ronnie Stinnett, 60, and Dwight Kerr, 39, was found with the remains. He said people are speculating that Hackney committed suicide, but a cause of death has not been confirmed.

Plecker said relatives of Hackney and the victims have indicated a sense of closure.

“They are just glad it’s over with,” he said.

By The Associated Press  |  05:52 PM ET, 09/18/2012

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