TIMELINE: Manhunt ends with fiery crash after 3-state crime spree


RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) — After a nationwide manhunt, the suspect accused of crimes in Central Mississippi, New Mexico, and Kansas is now in custody.

28-year-old Alex Bridges Deaton was wanted in connection with the murder of his girlfriend, 30-year-old Heather Robinson.

Robinson was found dead at the Vineyard at Castlewoods in Brandon, Mississippi on Friday, February 24, 2017 after deputies went to the apartment to do a welfare check.

Authorities believe she might have been killed on Wednesday, February 22nd. Rankin County District Attorney Michael Guest said preliminary reports show that Robinson was strangled to death.

Her white GMC Acadia was missing from the crime scene.

The same morning Robinson was found dead, a woman jogging in the Castlewoods neighborhood was shot by someone driving a white SUV. Deputies linked Deaton to the crime.

Neshoba County authorities also named Deaton as a person of interest in a homicide investigation.

Sheriff Tommy Waddell said 69-year-old Brenda Pinter was shot and killed at Dixon Baptist Church on the night of February 23. He said someone in a white SUV pulled up in the parking lot of the church shortly after Pinter arrived.

She was there to clean up. Pinter’s husband came looking for her after he had not heard from her. He found her dead inside. Tuesday morning, Sheriff Waddell said their office has officially charged Deaton with Pinter’s murder.

Since then the crime spree in Mississippi, Deaton has been accused of violent crimes in New Mexico and Kansas.

Tuesday night around 11 p.m., New Mexico authorities said he allegedly kidnapped a couple near a hiking trail.

Police say the victims were held at gunpoint and put in the trunk of a white Honda Civic. When the car started slowing down, the male victim pulled the emergency latch from inside the trunk and ran away. The woman tried to escape but was captured. The victims were shot during the struggle. The male victim was able to get back into the car and drive away from the scene.

Deaton then allegedly took the woman and went to a home and carjacked a van. While they were driving in the area, they came across the Honda Civic. Bailey said the shooting victim had gotten out of the car and got someone to take him to the hospital.

Deaton got out of the van and got back into the Honda. Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said authorities found Robinson’s car at the site where the couple was kidnapped. The license plate had been switched to Missouri plates.

Deaton’s crime spree didn’t stop there.

Early Wednesday morning, Rankin County deputies received a phone call from Kansas authorities that Deaton was in Pratt County in Kansas. Law enforcement officers said they saw Deaton in the white Honda. They put out spike strips, and he wrecked the car.

Sheriff Bailey said Kansas authorities told them Deaton ran away from on foot. He allegedly went to a gas station, shot the store clerk, and carjacked a black Cadillac. WJTV was told at last check that the clerk was in critical condition.

Kansas Highway Patrol spotted the Cadillac on I-70 around 7:50 a.m. Wednesday. Highway Patrol put out spike strips, and Deaton wrecked the car near Dorrance, Kansas at milepost 191. The car caught fire and law enforcement officers were able to take him into custody.

Robinson’s funeral was held Wednesday. Her family released this statement about Deaton’s arrest:

“Today as we were about to lay our precious daughter, Heather, to rest we learned that Alex Deaton had been arrested. For this we are grateful to all the law enforcement agencies that were and still are involved in this tragedy. Although our hearts are shattered and our lives forever changed, this has certainly helped. The road for our family will be a long one and we continue to ask for prayers to help guide us. We also ask for privacy at this time to grieve. May God bless each and every one of you. Thank you.

— The family of Heather Robinson

Above is a complete timeline of events.

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