Among the things police searched during the investigation of Jackie Vandagriff’s murder was her dark gray 2015 Mazda 6.
But Grapevine police could not find the keys to the 24-year-old college student’s car, which they found at her Denton apartment.
So they had the car towed to the Grapevine impound lot.
But when they were ready to release the car to the family, officers realized that retrieving it and having a new key made to start it would be time-consuming and expensive endeavor for the family of the woman, whose body was found Sept. 14 in a park near Lake Grapevine.
Grapevine police Sgt. Wes Spillers wanted to spare the family some trouble.
So he went to The Thompson Group at Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine on Wednesday and met with sales manager Timothy Lynch.
Lynch recalls a “humble officer” who asked if they could help the family.
“All he wanted to do was take the burden off their shoulders,” Lynch said Thursday. “He said, ‘I’m just reaching out for some help.’ ”
Because of the computer chip necessary to operate the Mazda’s ignition, Vandagriff’s car needed to be serviced by a Mazda dealership. Unbeknownst to Spillers, Lynch’s dealership umbrella includes Classic Mazda of Denton.
Lynch contacted Denton sales manager Rick Wick, who put him in touch with parts manager Robert Shaw.
They had the car towed back to Denton, made a new key and returned the vehicle to the Grapevine police pound. Lynch estimated the cost was about $450, not including towing.
“It would have taken some time for the family to do all that,” Lynch said. “Getting a new key for them was a no-brainer.”
Spillers said he wanted to help the family because “a lot of work was needed to get it driveable. This was one more hurdle for them to get over.”
The suspect in Vandagriff’s slaying, Charles Dean Bryant, 30, was in the Tarrant County Jail Thursday night. Investigators learned that Vandagriff and Bryant were together on the night of Sept. 13 at the Fry Street Public House in Denton after walking there from her apartment, according to the affidavit.