SEARCY -- A Texas man has been charged in the death a Searcy man missing since 1994, police said Thursday.
Details contained in a police affidavit filed in the case indicate there may have been one other related death in addition to a suicide since Jarrod Green left his home to settle a drug debt Sept. 30, 1994, and disappeared.
Brandon Wheeler, 41, of Weatherford, Texas, was charged with capital murder and abuse of a corpse in the death of Green, who was 20 when his father reported him missing days later.
Searcy police detectives, with help from the U.S. Marshals Service's Mountain State Fugitive Task Force, arrested Wheeler late Wednesday, Searcy police officer and spokesman Terri Lee said in a news release.
Wheeler was being held at the jail in Jefferson County, Ohio, where he awaits extradition to Arkansas.
Lee said Green graduated from Searcy High School in 1993. She declined to say whether authorities have found his remains, though the affidavit refers to a December 2016 search using cadaver dogs at a site in rural White County.
Wheeler and Green knew each other, Lee said.
"The case has never been closed," Lee said in an interview.
She said new leads that she could not disclose had led to the arrest.
"We're just glad to be giving the Green family a little bit of closure," Lee said.
According to the affidavit filed in White County Circuit Court, David Green reported his son missing Oct. 5, 1994, and told police that his son had left his home to meet Wheeler about a drug debt owed to Wheeler.
On Nov. 2, 2016, Searcy police resumed investigating the case. Detective Adam Sexton wrote in the affidavit that a witness, identified only as Witness 1, said Wheeler and Wheeler's roommate, also not identified, had approached him earlier in 1994 and offered $1,000 "to get rid of Jarrod Green."
Unless stated otherwise, subsequent information is from the affidavit.
After Green disappeared, Wheeler and his roommate returned to Witness 1 and said Green "had been done away with."
Witness 1 "also provided details about Brandon Wheeler and his roommate grabbing Jarrod Green" at the Wal-Mart Super Center parking lot in Searcy, where Green's vehicle was found.
Another witness, identified as Witness 2, told police in December 2016 that he met with Green at the Searcy Country Club parking lot per Green's request. He said he had Green's .38-caliber Rossi revolver and that Green wanted it back because of the upcoming meeting with Wheeler.
"Witness 2 said Jarrod Green told him he needed his gun for protection against Brandon Wheeler. The witness said he gave Green the gun and told him "to be careful."
Another witness who said she and Green were in a relationship recalled that he "begged her to come along with him on the night he went missing" but that he was "acting out of character" and she did not go.
About 10 months after Green disappeared, Wheeler's roommate and "best friend" was reported missing by his mother.
"An investigator reported during this time, [that this] individual was bragging he was a part of the disappearance of Jarrod Green, just before his own disappearance," the affidavit said.
Then on Dec. 31, 2000, "another close friend and roommate" of Wheeler committed suicide, the affidavit said. It said this person also had been good friends with Green.
Before killing himself, the person "gave disclosure of two separate murders to his cousin who was also his pastor."
On Dec. 19, 2016, a judge signed a warrant so authorities could search some uninhabited property in rural White County, where evidence indicated Green's body was disposed at that site.
Cadaver dogs found the evidence, the affidavit concluded. It did not specify whether that was bones, possessions or other remains of Green.
State Desk on 05/12/2017
Print Headline: Texan charged in 1994 killing of Searcy man