Crime

Slain TWU student apparently went to suspect’s home before she was killed

The Texas Woman’s University student found dead last week in a Grapevine park met the man accused of killing her at a Denton bar and later was at his far north Fort Worth home before she was dismembered and the body parts burned in a blue wading pool, according to an arrest warrant affidavit released Tuesday morning.

Jacqueline Vandagriff, 24, was found dead by firefighters in Acorn Woods Park near Lake Grapevine about 6 a.m. Sept. 14.

The burned body was in a kiddie pool and firefighters learned that an “accelerant” had been used to start the fire, according to the affidavit.

Charles Dean Bryant, 30, remains in jail on a capital murder charge, with bail set at $1 million. Police have said that Bryant’s home is in Haslet, but tax records show his address on Sand Hills Drive is within the Fort Worth city limits.

Investigators learned that Vandagriff and Bryant were together on the night of Sept. 13 at the Fry Street Public House in Denton after walking to the bar from her apartment, according to the affidavit.

She and Bryant were seen together on security video there, and also at Shots and Crafts, another nearby bar.

They were seen leaving Shots and Crafts about 9:45 p.m., the affidavit said.

Cell phone data traced Vandagriff to the area near Bryant’s home about 1:30 a.m. Sept. 14 , the affidavit said. At 4:41 a.m., Bryant was seen purchasing 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 also found a “round patch of grass where it appears a kiddie pool would have recently been.”

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

Detectives also found Vandagriff’s purse in the trash at Bryant’s home, according to the affidavit.

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.

On Tuesday, the burned area could be easily accessed from the park, which sits in a remote area between Oak Grove Loop South and the southwest edge of the lake.

From the road, a metal cross and flowers could be seen about 30 yards away near a picnic table. A charred patch of brush was just beyond the small memorial, about 10 yards down the trail.

Stalking complaint

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

The affidavit said Bryant’s ex-girlfriend has 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 a female student filed a complaint against him with UNT police, who issued a no-trespass order against Bryant. He was accused of violating the order, and was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing Sept. 6. He was released the same day.

The next day, UNT police learned he had continued to try to contact the student and issued an arrest warrant for stalking. He was arrested Sept. 7 and that same day campus police obtained an emergency protective order from Denton County for the female student. He was released from jail Sept. 9, records show, and accused of violating the emergency order on Saturday, three days after Vandagriff was killed.

Grapevine police originally took Bryant into custody on Sunday on the warrant for violating the protective order, according to the affidavit.

“As far as we know, there is no connection to the Grapevine murder,” Venegas said. “Bryant is not affiliated in any way with UNT, never been a student or employee.”

Social media comments

Investigators are still 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.”

Bryant posted odd status updates on his Facebook page before and after the body was found:

Teach you tricks that will blow your mind

Posted by Charles Dean Bryant on Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Full moon.. lets see what trouble I can get into

Posted by Charles Dean Bryant on Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cory Mayabb, who lives down the street from Bryant’s residence in the 14000 block of Sand Hills Drive, said Bryant shared the house with a man and the man’s girlfriend. Mayabb said he had spoken to the other man once, but he didn’t know Bryant.

The Urban Cowboy Saloon in Fort Worth, where Bryant worked, was closed Tuesday. Bryant’s arrest was acknowledged on its Facebook page. The bar fired Bryant after he didn’t show up for work Sunday, according to the post.

“We are grieving with our community and offer our deepest condolences for the Vandagriff family and friends,” the post said.

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