JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Nov. 29 UPDATE: A man, who police say was there the night Loretta "Lori" Pixler was robbed and abducted, claims she was still alive when he and two others left her beside a major highway.
The day before Thanksgiving, Jonesboro police arrested Byron Ford and Dawaun Logan in connection with Pixler's kidnapping and death.
On Monday, both men appeared before Craighead County District Court Judge Keith Blackman who found probable cause to charge them with aggravated robbery and kidnapping.
According to court documents, Ford and Logan, along with a third man, robbed Pixler and a coworker as they left the Dollar Tree store, 2917 E. Nettleton, around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.
The third suspect, who was arrested on Nov. 11 on an unrelated charge, told investigators Ford and Logan picked him up on the night in question with the intent to commit the robbery.
After brandishing a handgun at Pixler, he said Logan forced her into the driver's seat of her car, then got in the back seat, and they drove away.
Ford and the unnamed third suspect followed in Ford's silver Kia Rio. Surveillance video captured the car passing the store just before the robbery, then follow Pixler's car immediately after her abduction.
Jonesboro police said in the affidavit that cell tower information showed Logan called Ford on his cell phone as both cars left Jonesboro, heading toward Poinsett County.
"Tower information shows the phones all move together in the exact route taken by Lori," the documents stated.
Using the information, investigators say the communication continued to the "exact area that Lori's body and car are later found."
The third suspect said he was in the car with Ford at the time of the robbery and kidnapping. He said they followed Pixler's car while Logan gave directions on how to get out of town.
They eventually picked Logan up on Highway 14, near the Payneway exit, after he crashed Pixler's car into a ditch.
He told police Pixler was still alive when they left her on the side of Interstate 555. Her body was found on the interstate between the southernmost Trumann exit and the Payneway exit, the report stated.
The suspect told investigators they "took her purse and phone in an attempt to get the money from the night deposit from Dollar Tree."
Ford is being held in the Craighead County Detention Center on a $2 million bond. Logan's bond is set at $1 million. Both men are scheduled to appear in circuit court on Dec. 30.
No word on what, if any, charges the third man will face.
Nov. 28 UPDATE: Both Ford and Logan appeared Monday before Craighead County District Judge Keith Blackman for a probable cause hearing in the case.
Blackman set a $2 million bond for Ford and a $1 million bond for Logan during the court appearance, Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said.
Both Ford and Logan face kidnapping and aggravated robbery charges and are being held in the Craighead County jail.
Both will appear Dec. 30 in Craighead County Circuit Court for an initial appearance, Ellington said.
9:25 p.m. UPDATE: Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said the arrests were due to good police work.
"Today's arrests are the result of the patient and determined work of Detective Shay Racy of the Jonesboro Police Department in consultation with the Craighead County Prosecutor's office, and is an example of the teamwork that help keeps our community safe," Ellington said.
8:31 p.m. UPDATE: The arrests of two people in connection with the kidnapping and death of a woman earlier this year was a collaborative effort, with as many as a dozen agencies working on the investigation.
Jonesboro police spokesman Paul Holmes said federal, state and local agencies helped make the arrest of Byron Dewayne Ford, 24, of Lepanto and Dawaun Christopher Logan, 20, of Earle happen.
Authorities were tight-lipped Wednesday about the investigation into Lori Pixler's death, but noted the investigators and law enforcement have worked hard since Sept. 25.
"Due to the sensitive nature of many aspects of the investigation, and the utmost importance in not compromising the integrity of such a serious case, investigators were unable to release many details concerning their progress on the investigation," Holmes said. "While we realize this very serious crime has been of grave public concern, we want to convey that law enforcement has worked tirelessly to bring this case to a successful conclusion."
The investigation into the kidnapping and death are still ongoing, Holmes said.
Anyone with information on the case can call Jonesboro Crimestoppers at 870-935-STOP.
The family of Loretta Ann "Lori" Pixler has something to be thankful for this holiday.
Jonesboro police announced Wednesday they have arrested two people suspected in her kidnapping and death.
Officers arrested Byron Dewayne Ford, 24, of Lepanto and Dawaun Christopher Logan, 20, of Earle on suspicion of kidnapping and aggravated robbery in the case. Both have been booked into the Craighead County jail, according to the sheriff's department's website.
On Sunday, Sept. 25, Pixler and a co-worker were robbed outside the Dollar Tree Store, 2917 E. Nettleton, as they left for the night, police said at the time.
The robber forced Pixler at gunpoint into her own car then got in with her and made her drive away.
A short time later a motorist discovered her body on Interstate 555 near the Payneway exit. Police found her abandoned vehicle in a nearby ditch.
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