UPDATE: Suspect in dismemberment investigation charged with harboring a sex offender
POSTED: Monday, June 18, 2012 - 7:02pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 1:45pm
HANCOCK COUNTY, MS — UPDATE: The woman arrested on unrelated charges who is under investigation in the disappearance and gruesome killing of a Mid-City woman received a new charge on Monday night of harboring a sex offender according to WDSU
Jaren Lockhart was reported missing on June 6. Her torso washed ashore on a beach in Bay St. Louis, Miss., and other parts of her severed body washed up days later. Authorities in Hancock County, Miss., are looking for her killer. This timeline follows the events of the investigation.
Margaret Sanchez, 28, received the new charge on Monday night, WDSU confirmed. She will remain in the Tangipahoa Parish Jail for the time being.
Sanchez was arrested with Terry Speaks, a convicted sex offender who faces a felony charge of failing to register as a sex offender. Speaks is in the custody of U.S. Marshals in St. Tammany Parish.
Police said the two lived together in Kenner.
Sanchez and Speaks haven't been charged in Lockhart's death, but have been referred to by investigators as suspects.
ORIGINAL STORY: Investigators are turning to the community once again with the hope of locating critical information linking two named suspects in the homicide case of victim Jaren Lockhart.
“We are asking storeowners along the Gulf Coast to review surveillance video from June 6 until the time Lockhart's body was found," Don Bass, Investigator Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, said.
The dismembered body of Jaren Lockhart washed up on the shore of a sleepy beachfront community in Mississippi on Thursday, June 7. Initially, her torso was all that was found and visible stab wounds located in the chest.
“We started out with about five missing person cases of who it could be,” Glenn Grannan, Chief Investigator Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, said. “We had a couple out of Gulf Port, Mobile, Lafayette, and one out of New Orleans.”
Those potential matches were narrowed down and Lockhart was established as the most likely match due to distinguishing tattoos and piercing. A DNA test was ordered to positively identify the victim. Before the results of that test could come back the remaining limbs were discovered on Saturday, June 9.
The investigation turned to the missing person case filed in New Orleans. Surveillance video captured two suspects at the Bourbon Street club where Lockhart was employed and last seen. She reportedly left with the couple on Wednesday, June 6 at roughly 2:00 a.m.
That was the last time she was seen alive.
Photos of the two suspects were released and within an hour over 100 callers gave tips on the identity of the suspects. They were named as Terry Speaks, 39, and Margaret Sanchez, 28. The two were located in Kenner after they were pulled over for a traffic violation. The two attempted to flee from police and were arrested.
Speaks and Sanchez were both questioned in regards to the night Lockhart went missing. The home where the couple resides was searched. Authorities have not disclosed whether any viable evidence was collected.
Sanchez appeared in court in Tangipahoa Parish on Thursday, June 14. She did not waive extradition at the advice of her public defenders. Her lawyers tell WDSU that they believe the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office had insufficient evidence to warrant extradition. She was released on a bond of $1,500.
Speaks, however, will be extradited to North Carolina, where he faces an indictment on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender. That’s related to a conviction back in 2003 for a sex crime involving a juvenile.
"It will be a week or two before Speaks is extradited,” Bass noted. “In that time we will be working on following up leads.”
Investigators are returning to the waters where Lockhart was found to try and locate a possible murder weapon. They are focusing the efforts near the Long Beach pier.
“Experts decided to begin the search there after reviewing tidal patterns in the area,” Bass explained. “They will continue the testing until they reach the site where Jaren Lockhart's body parts were found in Bay St. Louis, MS.”
Neither Speaks nor Sanchez have been charged in relation to the homicide investigation.