Two children are missing and their mother and a relative have been found dead this week in Polk County, local authorities say in  a report by 40/29 TV.

The body of Bethany Jo Wester, 43, of Mena was found Tuesday in a creek near Cove. Her death is considered a homicide, the sheriff’s office said. The body of a male relative was found Thursday in a house near Hatfield.

Missing are Wester’s children, Acelyn Wester, 2, and her brother Reilly Scarbrough, 9. They were last seen Sunday in Mena. They are identified as “critically missing,” meaning authorities fear they may be in danger. To date, authorities haven’t identified a specific link, if any, between the deaths and the missing children.

An extensive search for the children is in progress.


UPDATE: the two-year-old’s body has been found. Search continues for her brother.

The Polk County Pulse this morning reported additional details in the case. It said the man found in the home in Hatfield was Steven J. Payne, 66. His death, too, is considered a homicide. He is Wester’s uncle.

Additionally, Pulse Multi-Media said that Brian Bliss Travis, 37, reported to be a boyfriend of Wester, had been arrested on unrelated charges Wednesday, including possession of drug paraphernalia.