A Haslet man was arrested and faces a murder charge in the death of TWU student Jacqueline “Jackie” Vandagriff, whose body was found burned and dismembered at a park near Lake Grapevine, police said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
Charles Dean Bryant, 30, was arrested after police and the FBI searched a home in Haslet Sunday afternoon, said Sgt. Robert Eberling of the Grapevine Police Department. The suspect works at Urban Cowboy Saloon in Fort Worth, Eberling said.
Vandagriff, 24, of Frisco may have first met Bryant Tuesday night, Eberling said. She was found dead Wednesday morning after firefighters responded to a fire at Acorn Woods Park about 6:30 a.m. They found her body after they extinguished the fire, police said.
Police connected Bryant to the case after they were told Vandagriff was at a bar in Denton Tuesday night and then learned that Bryant was with her, Eberling said. They were captured on video together at the bar. He did not have the name of the bar.
Eberling said investigators still are looking into whether Bryant and Vandagriff met through social media. Someone used her Twitter account Friday — after her body had been found — to tweet “Never knew I could feel like this.” Eberling said police are aware of the tweet.
“We’re looking at any type of social media she had any connection to, to find out if she had communicated with this person before,” Eberling said. “It takes time to recover that kind of information.”
Investigators also used Vandagriff’s cell phone location to track down the suspect, Eberling said.
Bryant remained in the Grapevine jail Monday afternoon with bail set at $1 million.
Bryant had been arrested and released just days before Vandagriff was killed by the University of North Texas police department, WFAA reported..
A spokesperson at UNT said that university police were contacted Aug. 24 by a student who told them she was being harassed by Bryant.
WFAA reported he was given a no-trespass order on Sept. 6, which he violated. The university police department got a warrant for his arrest the next day and he was arrested on a stalking charge. The student who made the complaint received an emergency protective order, WFAA reported. Bryant was asked to not have any contact with the student.
Then, on Sept. 17, the university said he tried to contact her again and two more warrants were issued, WFAA reported. for violating the order and for harassment. The university says it appears the incident is unrelated to the Grapevine case.
Eberling said Bryant previously was arrested in Grapevine on charges of forgery and possession of marijuana. Public records show that Bryant’s mother lives in Grapevine.
Public records also show Bryant was found guilty of misdemeanor assault in Washington in 2009.
Eberling described the death as every parent’s “nightmare scenario you don’t want to ever face” after sending a child off to college.
Vandagriff, a junior at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, was a nutrition major at TWU, school officials said in a statement. She did not live on campus.
“Jacqueline exemplified the spirit of learning and service that is the hallmark of our TWU community,” TWU Vice President for Student Life Monica Mendez-Grant wrote in an email to students Monday. “She lived her life with a desire to serve others through her interest in nutrition.”
Vandagriff’s family released a statement to KXAS-TV (NBC 5):
“We would like to thank the Grapevine Police Department, FBI and all law enforcement agencies assisting in the investigation for their extraordinary efforts. We would also like to thank our friends, family and the friends of our daughter Jackie for all their support in this difficult time.”
Vandagriff’s cause and manner of death were still pending, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Mendez-Grant asked any students with information about Vandagriff to contact Grapevine police at (817) 410-8127.
Star-Telegram staff writer Judy Wiley contributed to this report.