NEWRY- The family of a bed-and-breakfast guest accused of killing the innkeeper, another guest and two others shared their grief over the community’s loss on Thursday as investigators wrapped up the recovery of the last victim.

Charlie Nielsen, the father of Christian C. Nielsen, said words did not come close to capturing the community’s sorrow and his condolences to the victims’ families.

“We realize that the ripples of horror, disbelief and pain were instantaneous and far-reaching. The event tore a hole in the community. Our joys and our serenity came to an abrupt halt,” Nielsen, an English teacher, said in a statement issued through a law office.

Hours earlier, state police announced that they had finished recovering evidence at the Black Bear Bed & Breakfast where three women were killed, and that they’d completed the recovery of remains believed to be those of James Whitehurst, 50, of Batesville, Ark.

Christian Nielsen, who is charged with four counts of murder, told investigators that he shot and dismembered three victims over the Labor Day weekend at the Black Bear: owner Julie Bullard, 65; her daughter Selby, 30; and Cindy Beatson, 43, of Bethel.

The first victim, Whitehurst, was killed more than 25 miles away in Upton, where Nielsen burned the body and left it in the woods, he told police.

Whitehurst’s remains rested for days at the location before the killing spree was revealed Monday evening, and investigators spent several days there.

“The only thing left of my brother is part of his spine and part of his skull. That was it,” his sister, Dianna Taylor, said from Batesville, Ark.

On Thursday, state police met with family members of the four victims to report on their investigation. The meeting at the Newry Fire Station was private.

Police said no further information about the investigation will be released to the public until today at the earliest.

Nielsen, 31, remained held without bail at the Oxford County Jail as his father and stepmother, his biological mother and an aunt and sister gathered at the office of defense attorney Ron Hoffman in Rumford to issue a statement through WCSH-TV.

Charlie Nielsen said the family shared in the grief of the families of the four victims and wondered how they’d cope with such a “sudden and incomprehensible loss.”

“You know that we are connected to these tragic events in a unique way,” Nielsen said. “We would like to say that the connection does nothing to lessen our sorrow and our sympathy toward the bereaved.”

Nielsen didn’t address what could have been the motivation behind what state police described as the state’s worst homicide in 14 years.

There were reports that Julie Bullard was considering evicting Nielsen for being behind on rent. Bonita Sessions, the owner of Apple Tree Realty in Bethel, where Beatson and Selby Bullard worked, said she overheard something to that effect, but didn’t recall any details.

Hoffman said he didn’t put much stock in the reports.

“That’s just a bunch of talk,” he said.

The killing spree began last Friday with Whitehurst’s killing in Upton, where Nielsen’s mother Pat lives, according to a state police affidavit. Nielsen later took detectives to the site where he said he discarded the remains.

The state medical examiner was performing DNA tests to prove the remains were Whitehurst’s. In Arkansas, Dianna Taylor said her 77-year-old mother, Juanita, had to provide a DNA sample Thursday as part of the testing process.

Two days later, on Sunday, Nielsen said he killed Julie Bullard, according to the affidavit. Bullard’s daughter and Beatson were killed the next day, Labor Day, when they arrived at the inn unexpectedly, police said.

Nielsen’s father and stepmother, Lee Graham, of Woodstock discovered the grisly scene Monday after getting a call from Nielsen. They called police after coming across a body and a trail of blood.

Nielsen smiled at news photographers during a court appearance Wednesday, but his attorney said Nielsen was simply nervous.

“He’s very somber. He’s never been in jail before,” Hoffman said. Prior to his arrest, Nielsen’s most serious offenses were two arrests for drunken driving, which were among a string of driving convictions, according to documents.

On Thursday, a director at Greenleaf Funeral Home in Bethel said he planned to speak with the families of the victims Friday about arrangements. It was unclear whether all victims would be handled by that funeral home.

Taylor said she will have her brother’s body returned to Batesville for burial.

People in Newry and surrounding communities were planning a candlelight vigil in honor of the victims Saturday night at the town common in Bethel.

Funds also were being established in the names of Selby Bullard, who had 12- and 9-year-old children, and Cindy Beatson, who had a 12-year-old daughter.

Whitehurst leaves four children, ages 7, 10, 15 and 16.


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