Warrants closer in wake of six murders
Authorities continued to gather evidence Monday, a week after the homicides of six people, four of them here in Lincoln County.
“We’re getting closer to issuing warrants in the case,” said Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder late Monday afternoon. “In a case of this magnitude, you want to do everything you can to see that it’s investigated properly.”
The multi-jurisdictional investigation has been extensive, the sheriff said, citing numerous interviews, physical searches and in-depth inspections and analysis of crime scenes in Tennessee and Alabama.
Investigating, in addition to the local sheriff’s department, are the district attorney’s office for the 17th Judicial District, Fayetteville Police Department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Madison County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Marshalls’ Office, Huntsville Police Department, Madison County STACK Team, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Posse, Madison County district attorney’s office, and multiple first responders.
The common link in the case appears to be Warren Vincent Crutcher, Jr., who was initially identified as a person of interest in the case. Crutcher, whose body was found at about 8 a.m. Tuesday in woods just off B.H. Reeves Road in Hazel Green, Ala., knew all the other victims, say officials. His body was the last of those discovered in the series of thus far inexplicable deaths.
The murders were at first thought to be domestic in nature, then later described as drug-related, but Blackwelder has only confirmed that the acts were anything.
The findings of autopsies conducted on each of the dead have not been released. Four crime scenes are at the heart of the investigation. The first of those was discovered mid-morning Monday of last week when authorities got a call to do a welfare check at a Huntsville Highway residence less than a mile north of the Tennessee/Alabama state line. A 3-year-old in the home had dialed a family member, saying his mother wouldn’t wake up.
When authorities arrived, they found Chabreya Campbell, 22, and her 18-month-old son Rico Ragland dead in the home. Chabreya was also believed to be about six months pregnant. Chabreya and Rico lived at the home along with her 3-year-old son Vincent Crutcher, who was found there unharmed. The second adult found dead in the home was 21-year-old Amber McCaulley, of Huntsville, Ala.
The second crime scene was found late Monday afternoon when authorities were called to the home of Jessica Brown, 21, at 4 Fox Wood Drive just off Monks Road in southern Lincoln County, not far from the first crime scene. Her 2-month-old son was found in the home unharmed.
Both that 2-month-old and the 3-year-old found at the initial crime scene were both children of Vincent Crutcher, authorities have said, noting that Crutcher had relationships with all three women.
The third crime scene was discovered just after 1 a.m. Tuesday when Huntsville police responded to a shooting call and found Jeffrey Pope dead at 5102 Ortega Circle residence. Investigators said that three men, dressed in black, were seen running from the house just after the shooting.
Then the fourth crime scene is where Crutcher’s body was found just off B.H. Reeves Road in Hazel Green.
Funeral services for each of the homicide victims have been conducted.
Services for Jessica Brown will be held at Higgins Funeral Home in Fayetteville Friday morning. She was buried in Booneville Cemetery.
Funeral services for Amber McCaulley were held Saturday afternoon at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in New Market, Ala. She was interred in Valley View Memorial Gardens.
The service for Jeffrey Pope was held at noon Monday at Saint Mark Baptist Church in Huntsville. He was interred in Meadowlawn Garden of Peace.
Warren Vincent Crutcher’s funeral service was at 1 p.m. Monday at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Toney, Ala.He was to also be interred in Meadowlawn Garden of Peace.
Joint services were to be held at 12 noon Tuesday for Chabreya Campbell and her son, Rico, at Saint Bartley Primitive Baptist Church in Huntsville. They were both to lie in repose one hour prior to the funeral. Interment was to follow in Valhalla Memory Gardens.
Royal Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements for all of the deceased, with the exception of Jessica Brown.
Persons having information that might assist in the investigation are asked to contact either the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department at (931) 433-9821 or Lincoln County Area Crime Stoppers at (931) 433-7867. Persons calling Crime Stoppers can remain unanimous.