Jen Juneau
March 25, 2017 04:03 PM

A North Carolina man has been arrested on two counts of first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing his 4-day-old and 2-year-old daughters to death, according to local authorities.

Tillman Freeman III, 30, was arrested Friday on two counts of child endangerment and two counts of child abuse, following the disappearance of the girls while their mother, Candice Freeman, was at a hospital, according to The Fayetteville Observer and the Hoke Country Sheriff’s Office.

Hoke County Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Hubert Peterkin told The Fayetteville Observer that the girls’ bodies were found at around 2 a.m. Saturday, inside a parked car in a wooded area in the Raeford area, which is about 35 minutes outside of Fayetteville.

Freeman was then subsequently charged with the murder counts, the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Hoke County Sheriff's Office

“It was horrific,” Peterkin told The Fayetteville Observer, adding that the children appeared to have been stabbed multiple times with a survivalist-type or hunting knife.

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“From what our investigation’s telling us they had a dispute, where [Freeman] allegedly made accusations about the babies not being his, a child not being his or maybe her involvement with someone, and when he took the kids we understand he left in a rage,” Peterkin told ABC 11.

“It’s kind of hard to find the words to describe what this feels like,” Peterkin told ABC 11. “I know people read it, I know people see the story and hear about it, but to be out here on the scene and actually see this stuff, to see these children lifeless and brutally stabbed…

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“I don’t care how many years you’ve been in it. How many times you’ve been in it or seen things, this was not a good experience,” he added. “Everybody’s taking this real hard. Our heart goes out to the family, to the mother.”

“I feel sad and hurt, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” a relative of the slain children told ABC 11.

The mother of the children, Candice Freeman, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for funeral expenses.

“My precious and innocent babies have been murdered by the one man that was supposed to protect them,” Candice Freeman wrote on the page.

“My babies were left in the care of their FATHER and my very soon to be EX HUSBAND. Their father has taken them from me in the most heinous, cruel, and unforgivable way,” she added.

It is not known at this time whether Freeman has entered a plea.

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