NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man has denied any involvement in the slayings of his wife and her three children, whose bodies were found in their burned apartment, police said Sunday.

John Moses Ragin, 36, professed his innocence during interviews with Newport News police detectives who traveled to South Carolina, where he is being held, department spokesman Harold O. Eley said.

“Mr. Ragin denies any involvement whatsoever in their deaths,” Eley said.

Newport News police want Ragin returned to Virginia to face nine charges, including four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Crystal Ragin and her children, Sierra, 15, Rasheed, 10, and Lakwan, 6.

All four were found in their Newport News apartment on Friday. Investigators found evidence of knife wounds and “exposure to fire,” police said.

Ragin was taken into custody Saturday after he called detectives to say he was in Manning, S.C. A 5-year-old boy Ragin had with Crystal Ragin was taken to a relative’s house in South Carolina.

Eley confirmed that Crystal Ragin was in the military and assigned to Fort Eustis.

Three Newport News detectives and a forensic technician traveled to South Carolina to interview Ragin, Eley said. He said a court date had not been set to determine if Ragin can be extradited to Virginia.

Citing court records, the Daily Press of Newport News reported Sunday that John Ragin was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1991 in Clarendon County, S.C. He is still on probation for that conviction, said Eley, who could not provide further details.

Outside the family’s apartment this weekend, neighbors and colleagues from Fort Eustis created a memorial to Crystal Ragin and her children.

Eley said police are appealing for any leads in the case, particularly in the days leading to the killings. Anyone with information can call: 757-247-2500.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.