FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (KYTX) - Two suspects from Fort Worth were arrested Monday night and charged with capital murder in the death of 54-year-old Marion Lee Brown.
Part of Brown's dead body was discovered burning inside a role of carpet along a Smith County road in May. Later the rest of his body was found in a lake in the Shreveport area.
Eventually Fort Worth police located the apartment in which they believe he was killed and linked it to 30-year-old Brandon Bernard Daniels and 25-year-old Damonica Laniesha Evans. Investigators there now believe that Daniels and Evans were running a scam in which they lured victims to the apartment under false pretenses and then robbed them.
Specifically, Fort Worth Police Sergeant Raymond Bush cited an alleged arrangement in which Daniels and Evans would post misleading ads on BackPage.com.
"It's an online escort service they were using as a means to lure victims to the apartment to be robbed,” Bush said.
Bush said the department knew of at least one additional victim to the scam who had been robbed prior to leaving the apartment unharmed. He said investigators were unsure what might have transpired inside the apartment that lead to Brown being fatally shot.
Deputy Brad Dorn, one of the members of a U.S. Marshal's task force which arrested Daniels and Brown--known as Operation Intercept--said reports indicated only that a shotgun went off during the attempt to rob Brown. Additional details were not available Tuesday.
Dorn and the task force became involved when Fort Worth investigators came to believe that Daniels and Evans fled Texas on a bus bound for Georgia and may have ended up in Florence County, SC.
"Daniels had some relatives in the area,” Dorn said. “We worked it for about a week and developed information that they might be at an apartment complex and went from there."
A week's worth of surveillance confirmed that Daniels and Evans were living at an apartment complex in the area. The task force arrested Evans at the apartment.
"Mr. Daniels was tipped off and he was actually in the woods but we flushed him out and arrested him," Dorn said.
Bush said Daniels and Evans faced additional charges for aggravated robbery, and that further charges could be forthcoming as an investigation continues into the alleged bait-and-switch scheme involving the online escort ads.
Daniels is being held on $1,025,000 bond and Evans is being held on $1,010,000 bond. Both are being held at the Florence County, SC jail. Detectives from Fort Worth were en route to South Carolina Tuesday afternoon. No extradition date has been set.