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Grand jury indicts suspects for murder of Longview woman

UPSHUR COUNTY, Texas (KETK) - An Upshur County grand jury has indicted two people for the brutal murder of a Diana woman.

According to the Upshur County District Attorney's Office, the grand jury indicted Carlton Lamar Grant, 37, and Lindsey Jo McFadden, 29, for the March 2018 slaying of Rachel Rhoads, 24.

The body of Rhoads was discovered on Sunday, April 1, off Farm-to-Market Road 726, near Highway 154 in Upshur County, just one day after she was reported missing.

At the time of the discovery, the Upshur County Sheriff's Office said circumstances surrounding Rhoads' death "were suspicious."

In a search warrant obtained by KETK's newspaper partner, the Longview News-Journal, it was revealed McFadden and her boyfriend, Grant, knew Rhoads after the she and McFadden attended drug rehab classes together.

The warrant reveals a person interviewed by law enforcement said Grant and McFadden went to Rhoads' apartment on Thursday, March 29, two days before she was reported missing.

The LNJ reports McFadden told investigators the trio then left Rhoads' apartment in Rhoads' vehicle. 

"Along the drive from the backseat area (McFadden) told (the officer) that (Grant) reached from the back seat area and placed a bungee cord around the victim's neck as she was driving and demanded that (McFadden) take the wheel," the warrant states.

Rhoads was then moved to the back seat and Grant placed a zip tie around her neck, choking her, McFadden told police. Rhoads' official cause of death was strangulation, according to the warrant.

McFadden said they drove "random places," with Rhoads in the trunk, and disposed of some evidence along the way, according to the warrant obtained by the LNJ.

According to the documents, McFadden and Grant lit Rhoads' body on fire and left her near a gas pipeline right-of-way off FM 726 in Upshur County.

Her body was found "badly burned" on April 1, in the same location, the document revealed.

The Bedford Police Department came in contact with the suspects during a traffic stop on Monday, April 2. However, McFadden told officers the vehicle belonged to her "very best friend," and without any warrants to hold them, the pair was let go, according to the LNJ.

On April 3, Bedford police contacted Longview police saying they had stopped a vehicle related to Rhoads' case.

Upon further investigation, the vehicle information on the BOLO (Be on the Lookout) alert was changed to "stolen." At that point, Upshur County investigators traveled to Bedford to track down Rhoads' vehicle and the suspects.

McFadden, Grant and Rhoads' vehicle were found at an apartment complex in Fort Worth, where the duo was arrested on outstanding warrants by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Texas Rangers.

The warrant stated Grant was taken into custody on an active warrant charging him with an aggravated robbery in which he is accused of setting a gas clerk on fire. McFadden was arrested on charges of endangering a child after she and her 1-year-old child tested positive for methamphetamine, reports the LNJ.

According to Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd, sufficient evidence in the Rhoads case led investigators to tack on the enhanced charges of capital murder due to the fact Rhoads was killed in the commission of a kidnapping.

TEXAS CAPITAL OFFENSES

The following crimes are identified as capital murder in Texas: 

1) Murder of a peace officer or fireman who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer or fireman

2) Murder during the commission or attempted commission of kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat

3) Murder for remuneration or promise of remuneration or employs another to commit murder for remuneration or promise of remuneration

4) Murder during escape or attempted escape from a penal institution

5) Murder, while incarcerated in a penal institution, of a correctional employee or with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination

6) Murder while incarcerated in a penal institution for a conviction of murder or capital murder

7) Murder while incarcerated in a penal institution serving a life sentence or a 99 year sentence for a conviction of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, or aggravated robbery

8) Murder of more than one person during the same criminal transaction or during different criminal transactions but the murders are committed pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct

9) Murder of an individual under 10-years-old

10) Murder in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of the other person as a judge or justice of the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of appeals, a district court, a criminal district court, a constitutional county court, a statutory county court, a justice court, or a municipal court

Grant has a lengthy criminal history in Gregg County having been arrested 14 times since 2000. 

The duo remains in the Upshur County Jail on $4,000,000 bond.

 


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