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Man whose stepdaughter, wife are missing indicted for firearm possession

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — A north Alabama man whose wife and stepdaughter have been missing for over a month was indicted in U.S. District Court Tuesday on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms.

Officials searching the property of 38-year-old Barry Van Whitton on July 12 found several firearms in his possession, U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin said in a statement.

Martin said authorities found a Columbia 12-gauge shotgun, a Universal M-1 .30-caliber semi-automatic carbine, a Winchester 30-30 lever action rifle, a Crickett .22-caliber rifle and a Savage Arms .22-caliber rifle during the search, it was reported Tuesday night.

Whitton had convictions in March 1988 and May 1991 of receiving stolen property, prohibiting him from possessing firearms, Martin said.

If convicted, Whitton could face up to 10 years in jail, a fine up to $250,000 or both.

He has been in federal custody without bond since July 12.

An FBI agent said in a federal hearing two weeks ago that Whitton is a suspect in the disappearance of his wife, Kimberly, and her daughter, 11-year-old Haleigh Culwell, who were last seen June 21.

The agent also testified that Whitton is a suspect in the death of his first wife, Michelle.

She was killed 10 years ago, and her body was found under sticks and rocks near Whitton's home.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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