Capital Murder Charges to be Filed Against Woman in Case of Gilmore Child

November 26, 2004 - updated at 3:06 p.m. CST

Marion, AR - After more than 3 months have passed since the disappearance and murder of a 7-year-old Gilmore girl, investigators with the Crittenden County Sheriff's Department on Friday announced their intentions to pursue capital murder charges against the woman who has been in custody on kidnapping charges in the case since August.

Chief investigator Thomas Martin called a news conference on Friday morning to discuss the case, and said capital murder charges will be filed against 37-year-old Jo Ann Buchanan, who was arrested shortly after Patricia Ann Miles' disappearance, and charged with kidnapping. Buchanan is a former babysitter of the victim.

"She was always our number one suspect," said Martin.

Investigators chose to wait until after the holiday to break the news to the family. Martin said the family is upbeat considering what happened.

Investigators are not elaborating on much of the evidence, but said Patricia was suffocated to death in a soybean field in Mississippi County. Her hands, feet and mouth were bound with duct tape.

"There was substantial fiber evidence that was stuck to the tape, recovered off some clothes that Jo Ann was wearing," said Martin.

Martin also said investigators are looking into different possibilities for a motive, and mentioned that Buchanan did have prior questionable behavior.

"There had been some police reports that Jo Ann did put rat poison in her boyfriend's mouth while he was sleeping, she did admit to that in an interview," said Martin.

Buchanan is currently on a suicide watch at the Crittenden County jail. She faces a pre-trail arraignment on Monday. Buchanan is not commenting on this case, except to say that only God knows what happened. Prosecutors are still deciding if she could face the death penalty.