Slaying, kidnapping suspect faces capital murder charge
A man sought by police after authorities said he shot his ex-wife and kidnapped their 4-year-old son from a Tyler home Wednesday remained jailed in West Monroe, La., Thursday afternoon as officials worked to extradite him on capital murder charge.
Tyler police spokesman Don Martin said Tyler detectives made the trip to Louisiana to talk to 41-year-old James Calvert about the death of his former wife and the kidnapping of the couple's son Lucas, but he did not reveal any details of the interviews.
Martin said it was not known Thursday afternoon when Calvert might be extradited to Tyler to face the capital murder charge.
Calvert became the focus of an intensive manhunt Wednesday after police said he gunned down 30-year-old Jelena Rado-banovic Sriraman at her home on Bain Place before fleeing the location with their son Lucas.
Mrs. Sriraman, who remarried several years ago, won a custody battle that gave her sole custody of her and Calvert's two young children just two weeks before her death. Neighbors and church members said the young mother was moving to Houston to be with her current husband.
Smith County records show Calvert was arrested multiple times for violating a protective order and for aggravated assault/family violence in 1999.
Martin said the shooting Wednesday afternoon, shortly after noon, left the woman dead in the carport of her home.
Despite an Amber Alert being issued by law enforcement, Calvert managed to elude authorities for 11 hours until he was pulled over for a traffic violation in West Monroe, La.
"God was on our side in all of this, because the streets were not congested due to the time, and we were able to recover the boy safely," West Monroe Police Cpl. Jade Gabb said.
Gabb said the entire incident lasted less than 10 minutes when an officer witnessed Calvert make a sudden turn across lanes of traffic on Interstate 20 to the exit ramp.
"The officer initiated the traffic stop, and the suspect refused to yield to law enforcement. At first, the pursuit was at speeds of 10 mph, but it did increase. Lucky for us, Calvert took a turn onto a dead-end street and his vehicle became high-centered on a driveway, which disabled the vehicle," he said.
Gabb said officers surrounded the vehicle and requested Calvert give up, but he refused. Police then busted the window and removed him from the vehicle.
"One of our officers had seen the Amber Alert during briefing and thought the boy looked familiar. That is how we came to realize this man was wanted in Texas for murder and kidnapping," he said.
Gabb said when Lucas was found, he was in an Ironman Halloween costume in a car seat in the 2000 Buick LeSabre Calvert had fled in.
Lucas was taken to the police department and officers and dispatchers took care of the boy until Child Protective Services workers could arrive, Gabb said.
"We are a small department with only 82 sworn officers, so we are like a family unit. We just took the child in and made him feel as comfortable as we could," he said.
Martin said detectives do not know where Calvert was headed when he was stopped.
"We're just glad this is over, and we want to thank all of the members of law enforcement, the media for getting the information out there quickly and the public for their help," he said.
Martin acknowledged police searched several places in Smith County in the hours after the shooting in hopes of finding Calvert. One woman said a SWAT team ordered her out of her home with her small child and then questioned her and searched her home. She said police later told her Calvert once lived in her home.
Gabb said his agency has opted not to charge Calvert for the pursuit to help expedite the extradition process to Texas.
Calvert, who is under arrest on a capital murder warrant with a $2 million bond, has not cooperated with officials since being taken into custody, the officer said.
"Again, God was on our side that this ended like it did," Gabb said.