The bodies of Harley Michael Million, from left, his girlfriend, Samara Fontaine Kitts, and their daughter, Willa Fontaine Million, were found Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, in a rural area of Butler County, Missouri. The family was reported missing the day before and an Endangered Person Advisory issued by state police. A friend of the couple has been charged with murder in the three slayings.
Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
A Missouri man has been charged in a triple homicide that has left a young couple and their toddler daughter dead.
Drew D. Atchison, 24, of Williamsville, is accused of stabbing to death Harley Michael Million, 24, and Samara Fontaine Kitts, 23, in their Wayne County home, KFVS in Cape Girardeau reported. Atchison is accused of then driving the couple’s 17-month-old daughter, Willa Fontaine Million, to a remote area of neighboring Butler County and shooting the girl before dumping all three bodies under blankets and some trash.
Atchison is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, felony child kidnapping, felony armed criminal action and felony tampering with evidence, according to the news station. He was charged in Wayne County in connection with Million and Kitts’ deaths and in Butler County with the death of their daughter.
“They were a loving family and amazing parents to Willa,” read a statement from the victims’ families obtained by KFVS. “They weren’t married, but they had been together for the last eight years, since high school. They both have large families who love them very much and a large circle of lifelong friends.”
Wayne County Sheriff’s Office investigators said that Atchison admitted killing the family late last week. They were reported missing by family members on Sunday after they had not been heard from for several days.
Court documents obtained by the news station indicate that responding deputies found evidence behind the couple’s home that suggested a possible homicide. During the investigation, detectives interviewed Atchison, who authorities said admitted being at the home on Thursday, when the first of the killings occurred.
Investigators said that Atchison told them he stabbed Million and Kitts to death that day and placed their bodies in Million’s truck. He then went inside and shut the baby up in a room with the family’s dogs overnight before leaving and going home, the documents said.
Atchison told investigators he returned to the couple’s home the following morning and attempted to get rid of evidence of the slayings before putting Willa in her father’s truck -- with her parents’ bodies still in the bed -- and driving the truck south to Butler County. On private land off a highway there, he threw the knife used in the stabbings into the woods and hid Million’s and Kitts’ bodies, the investigators wrote.
Atchison then took Willa out of the truck, shot her to death and put her body with those of her parents, investigators said in the documents.
He told police he drove Million’s truck to a home behind his own home and parked it under the carport, placing tarps over the front and rear to hide it. He said he threw the vehicle registration into a nearby river.
No motive for the slayings has been given. Atchison’s relationship to the couple was not clear, but posts on social media indicated they knew each other for several years.
Family and friends mourned the young family on social media, where their pleas for the trio’s safe return on Monday soon turned to horror. Kitts’ mother, Christa Kitts, wrote before the bodies were discovered that she could not stand not knowing where her daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law were.
Later in the day, Kitts shared Atchison’s mug shot, using expletives to describe the man accused of killing her family.
“Never felt so much hate in my heart for anyone,” Kitts wrote. “And to think he sat at my kitchen table when they were teens. Was at my granddaughter’s first birthday party with his own daughter. I hope (you) never see light of day and burn in hell for eternity. And that life here on Earth, you don’t deserve.”
She thanked people Tuesday for their prayers and support, saying that her daughter, Million and Willa would be missed forever.
“They were amazing parents. I was so proud of them,” Kitts wrote. “And two young people couldn’t have loved each other more than Sammi (and) Harley.”
Kitts wrote that her granddaughter brought her happiness missing from her life since her younger daughter, Bobbie Jo Buffkin, died. According to her obituary, Bobbie Jo died in February 2013, three days before her 15th birthday.
Others also expressed their grief on Facebook. Million’s aunt, Sherra Emerson, wrote that he was a happy baby and her “little buddy” when he was young.
“You were such a great daddy to sweet baby Willa,” Emerson wrote. “I love and miss you already!”
Emily Griffin, a friend and former classmate of Million and Kitts, reminisced about the fun they had together.
“Samara Kitts, I’m so privileged to have known you and called you a friend,” Griffin wrote. “Harley Million, I will never forget your mean streak and jokes! You could make anything into a dirty joke. It was a gift.
“I hope y’all are smiling while reading all of the positive things people are saying. May the positive words outweigh the negative energy surrounding today. I love you guys and will forever mourn you all.”