Arrest Made in Connection with Crittenden County Murder

JUNE 9, 2006 -- POSTED AT 10:30 P.M. CDT

WEST MEMPHIS, AR -- It sounds like a night on the town gone bad and now one local woman is dead and a Mississippi man is behind bars.

"First thing you have to do is get the body identified, who the person is and then you can go back to family or friends or anybody out in the area that might have known her to back track on that individual," says

About 2 months ago on a Sunday afternoon, 3 men came to a local pond to fish, but instead discovered the body of a woman. In a panic, they immediately called the police. The body was sent to the state crime lab and was identified as 44 year old Pamela Sue McWhirter, a local to West Memphis. Police said her finger prints were on file, which indicated McWhirter did have a record.

We went to the Nic Nac Bar and Grill in West Memphis, the place where McWhirter was last seen. The owner of the bar, who personally knew the victim, definitely had her thoughts about what might have happened.

"Pam was basically a very good hearted person. She was always smiling, always happy, always friendly to people. Pam did have a crack problem, a problem with drugs," says the owner of the local bar where the victim was last seen.

Police arrested 40 year old Thomas Powers, also known as Tommy Wayne. He is being held at the Crittenden County Detention Center and faces a first degree murder charge. The bar owner said Powers wasn't a regular, but she had seen him in the bar once before.

"It was the first time he had ever been in the bar, until the Saturday before her death. It was him and her in the bar and he bought her a beer. She drank about half of it and they left together in his black minivan going toward the river and that was the last time anybody saw her alive," says the owner of The Nic Nac Bar and Grill.

She said she only spoke with Powers during his previous visit to the Nic Nac, but what he said startled her.

"She rips people off and he said if she ever rips me off, I'll kill her, that's what he said," says the owner of The Nic Nac Bar and Grill.

Police did say that the suspect did have family in the Crittenden County area, but he resided in Senatobia, Mississippi. Powers will go before a judge on Monday to set his bond.