NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – A man was charged Sunday with murdering his wife and her four children in a domestic dispute at their home, authorities said.

Michael Simmons, 41, appeared at a bond hearing via video link from the Charleston County jail on Sunday and was ordered held without bond on five counts of murder.

Officers discovered the bodies, including that of a 6-year-old, on Saturday after a witness saw the bodies in the home and called police, according to a police affidavit. Simmons was captured as he tried to drive from the scene.

The victims had been shot with a handgun sometime between 3 a.m. and 5:45 a.m., the affidavit said. Simmons was not the children’s father, Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten said.

Simmons and Detra Rainey Simmons had been married for more than a year, authorities and her relatives said.

“This appears to have been a domestic situation that turned deadly,” said Spencer Pryor, a North Charleston police spokesman.

Melba Rainey Thompson said her sister worked at a hospital, was attending nursing school and was undergoing the second phase of chemotherapy for colon cancer.

“Her children were always there for her to comfort her when she went through the pain,” Thompson said.

The coroner had earlier identified the victims as Detra Rainey, 39, and her children William Rainey, 16, Hakiem Rainey, 13, Malachia Robinson, 8, and Samenia Robinson, 6. Rainey Simmons had a fifth child, 21-year-old Christan, who attends Southern University in Louisiana, relatives said.

The family belonged to St. Andrews Episcopal Mission, where the children attended vacation Bible school and sang in the choir, relatives said.

Fanning said later that Simmons was disabled and unemployed.

“Words can’t express the impact this has had on our family,” relative Gene Fanning said at the bond hearing. “It’s a devastating loss. We want him held fully accountable for his actions.”

The jail did not have any attorney information for Simmons.

Monique Singleton, who lives across the street in the subdivision of about two dozen mobile homes, said that four children lived in the home and that her children occasionally played with them.

“They were nice people; they seemed fine,” she said.

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