Northeast Tarrant

Man accused in TWU student’s gruesome death is indicted on child porn charge

Charles Dean Bryant, 24
Charles Dean Bryant, 24 Tarrant County Jail

One year after a Texas Woman’s University student’s body was found burned and dismembered near Lake Grapevine, the suspect in her killing has also been charged with possession of child pornography.

Charles Dean Bryant, 31, was indicted on the third-degree felony charge on Aug. 24, according to Tarrant County court records.

The 10-count indictment alleges that Bryant possessed pictures and videos of children engaging in sexual conduct.

Bryant was indicted in December on a murder charge in the death of Jacqueline Vandagriff, 24, whose remains were found in a plastic kiddie pool in Acorn Woods Park on Sept. 14, 2016.

While investigating that case, police examined Bryant’s phone and “stumbled onto images suspected to be child pornography,” Sgt. Robert Eberling, police spokesman, said last year.

Investigators then obtained a search warrant for Bryant’s electronic devices to search for evidence of child porn.

Bryant has a trial date in both cases scheduled for Dec. 4, according to court records.

He has remained in custody at the Tarrant County Jail with his total bail set at $1,075,000.

Police linked Vandagriff’s death to Bryant after discovering that the pair were seen together at two Denton bars the night before her body was found.

Cellphone data placed Vandagriff near Bryant’s home about 1:30 a.m. Sept. 14, 2016, the affidavit said. At 4:41 a.m., Bryant was seen buying a shovel at a nearby Wal-Mart on Avondale Haslet Road.

In Bryant’s back yard, detectives later found evidence that someone started to dig a hole in the ground, according to the affidavit. They found a “round patch of grass where it appears a kiddie pool would have recently been.”

Authorities also found “fire pit sift remains” and a possible bone fragment, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Detectives interviewed Bryant’s roommate and ex-girlfriend, and both said Bryant had a kiddie pool similar to the one in which Vandagriff’s body was found.

Detectives also found Vandagriff’s purse in the trash at Bryant’s home.

The affidavit did not say how Vandagriff’s body ended up in the Grapevine park about 22 miles away.

A 911 caller reported seeing a man standing over the fire and then leaving in a light-color SUV. The fire was set just off a narrow dirt path leading toward Lake Grapevine.

The murder indictment alleges that Bryant killed Vandagriff by using a zip tie, ligature, knife, machete or other unknown object.

Glynis McGinty, Bryant’s attorney, filed a motion last year to suppress Bryant’s statements to police during the investigation, writing that Bryant was “coerced and enticed” into making the statements, which have not been disclosed by police.

Bryant was “substantially deprived of freedom” by police and his statements were “involuntary,” McGinty wrote in the motion.

It was not clear in online court records whether a judge made a ruling on the motion.

Stalking complaint

Bryant was in trouble before he became a suspect in Vandagriff’s death.

The affidavit said Bryant’s ex-girlfriend had a protective order against him stemming from a stalking and harassment complaint.

In a separate matter, University of North Texas spokeswoman Margarita Venegas confirmed that on Aug. 24, 2016, a female student filed a complaint against Bryant with UNT police, who issued a no-trespass order against him. He was accused of violating the order, and was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing on Sept. 6, 2016. He was released the same day.

The next day, UNT police learned that he had continued trying to contact the student and issued an arrest warrant for stalking. He was arrested, and that same day campus police obtained an emergency protective order from a Denton County judge for the female student. He was released from jail Sept. 9, 2016, about five days before Vandagriff was killed.