A national manhunt is underway for a Mississippi man accused of strangling his girlfriend to death and shooting a jogger last week — and he is reportedly being investigated in connection with the slaying of a 69-year-old woman found dead in a church.
Alex Deaton, 28, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Heather Robinson, 30, and aggravated assault for allegedly shooting the jogger from inside what police suspect could be Robinson’s stolen vehicle, Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said during a news conference.
“Something inside of him appears to have snapped,” Bailey said.
Deaton is considered armed and extremely dangerous, and Bailey noted that authorities believe he likely has “several handguns.”
The suspect is a 5-feet-9-inches tall white man with hazel eyes and brown hair weighing 170 lbs., the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol said in a statement. A $27,500 is being offered, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
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The jogger called police around 5 a.m. on Friday after she was shot in the thigh while running along Castlewood’s Boulevard in Rankin County, Mississippi, according to the highway patrol’s statement.
Hours later, around 4:20 p.m., officials performed a welfare check on Robinson’s home — only to find her dead in the apartment and her white SUV missing.
The jogger who was shot said she’d been fired on from the driver’s side of a white SUV.
One day earlier, at around 6 p.m., Wayne Pinter, 79, found his wife, Brenda, dead in an office inside the Dixon Baptist Church in Neshoba County, according to WLBT.
“I thought she had a heart attack maybe,” Wayne told the station. “[I] had no idea that she’d been shot.”
Wayne said that he didn’t know of any connection between Brenda and Deaton, though a white SUV similar to Robinson’s stolen vehicle was seen at her church before she was found dead, Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell told KNOE.
Investigators are looking at Deaton as a person of interest in the case, according to Fox News and KNOE, though law enforcement sources told the Clarion-Ledger that Deaton was a suspect in Brenda’s death. He has not been charged, however.
He was last seen in the area of Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to WLBT.
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“We want him apprehended,” Rankin County District Attorney Michael Guest said at the news2 conference. “We don’t want anyone else hurt. We don’t know the frame of mind he’s in. But we do know that he has killed on person. He has shot a second person.”
Robinson’s Facebook page is filled with photos of herself with Deaton.
In a statement to NBC News, her family asked for privacy, saying that their “lives are forever changed and words cannot express our pain and sorrow.”