Three men are in jail and a woman is being sought in connection with the kidnapping and slaying of a Tarrant County woman, whose body was allegedly hidden in a closet, then dumped and burned the next day.
Albert Martinez Jr., Jeremy Myers and Alexandria Flores are accused of capital murder in the death of 30-year-old Brittany “Pearl” Chappell, whose body was found burning late Sept. 28 in far east Fort Worth.
According to court documents, the trio is accused of holding Chappell against her will, then beating and suffocating the mother of two with a bag and shower curtain.
The fourth suspect, Brian Kendrick Thompson, is accused of tampering with physical evidence for allegedly helping to dump and burn Chappell’s body after her death.
Martinez, 29; Myers, 23; and Thompson, 32; remained jailed Thursday. Police were still searching for Flores, 22, as of Thursday afternoon.
Chappell’s body, burned beyond recognition, was discovered late Sept. 28 after a patrol officer spotted a grass fire in a wooded, secluded area in the 3500 block of South Cravens Road, on the far western edge of Lake Arlington.
Evidence indicated that an accelerant had been used to start the fire.
Suspects began to emerge in the case even before authorities had identified the victim, according to Martinez’s arrest warrant affidavit, written by homicide Detective Kyle Sullivan.
After the body was discovered, homicide Detective M. Green went to a nearby Shell gas station at 5800 E. Berry Street to ask the on-duty clerk whether anyone suspicious had purchased gas there.
The clerk told Green that three people — two men and a woman driving a possibly tan-colored SUV — had been at the store earlier and appeared nervous.
He said they paid for $10 in gas, brought two drinks and then paid for an additional $2 in gas with coins.
Surveillance video later obtained from the store showed a woman and two men — one with tattoos on his face — inside the store about 30 minutes before the officer found the burning body, the affidavit states.
Police received tips in early October that Flores and her boyfriend, Martinez Jr., might be behind the death. Police obtained photographs of the couple, which appeared to match two of the suspects seen on the surveillance video, the affidavit states.
On Oct. 8, Sullivan and Green interviewed Flores’ mother.
The woman told investigators that her daughter had shared with her that Martinez Jr. had assaulted a woman whom he had brought to Flores’ apartment, then ordered Flores to put a bag over the girl’s head.
Flores told her mother that when she said she didn’t want to, Martinez Jr. pointed a gun at her and made her do it.
Flores told her mother that Martinez Jr. then knocked her unconscious because she wasn’t doing it right.
Police obtained a search warrant for Flores’ apartment in the 1500 block of Etta Street. Inside, they found several areas with apparent blood and packed boxes, as if the tenant were moving.
An interview with a suspect
Two days later, on Oct. 10, the detectives interviewed Flores, the first of two interviews she would give.
Homicide Sgt. Joe Loughman said statements given by Flores “seem to be self-serving.”
“We have evidence to lead us to believe she is more of a participant than a victim,” Loughman said.
Flores claimed that her boyfriend had met a woman at a game room in east Fort Worth and brought her to the apartment that Flores and Martinez Jr. share.
She said the three smoked methamphetamine together and that she later found her boyfriend yelling at the woman with a pistol in his hand.
Flores claimed she was struck in the head with the gun by Martinez Jr., causing her to lose consciousness, and that she later went upstairs to find the woman dead and lying naked on the floor.
She told police the woman had injuries to her face and what appeared to be a rope-burn mark around her neck and on her chest.
She said Martinez Jr. and a neighbor, later identified as Myers, wrapped the woman’s body in carpet and tied it with a rope. She said the men, accompanied by another man with a tan SUV, then burned the body in a remote area after buying gas.
Asked the woman’s name, Flores told detectives that the woman went by Pearl Chappell on Facebook.
Detectives were then able to identify the victim as Brittany Pearl Chappell, a 30-year-old woman reported missing to Bedford police Oct. 9.
A change in story
On Oct. 14, Flores talked with homicide investigators again, telling them she had not been fully truthful in her earlier interview.
This time, she added that her boyfriend’s father had also been present at the apartment when Chappell arrived at the apartment with Martinez Jr.
Flores said she told her boyfriend’s father that a man would be coming to pick up Chappell at the apartment, but to lie and tell that man that they had already dropped Chappell off in Irving.
She said her boyfriend’s father later did as requested.
Flores said her boyfriend later got upset with Chappell and began hitting and slapping her. She said he then made her hit Chappell with a belt three times.
Flores told detectives Martinez Jr. then put Chappell in a closet and told her to shut up. When Myers came by the apartment, she said Martinez Jr. showed him Chappell in the closet “like he was proud.”
When Chappell began screaming, Martinez Jr. and Myers began further beating the woman, tied her up and put her back in the closet, Flores told the detectives.
A decision to kill
Flores said her boyfriend remarked he had to kill Chappell after the crying woman said, “If you let me go, I’m going to tell.”
Flores said Chappell begged for her life, looking Flores in the eyes and pleading, “I just want to see my kids.”
Flores said Martinez Jr. cut off Chappell’s clothes while Myers helped hold her down.
She said Martinez Jr. then ordered her to put a trash bag over Chappell’s head or she could end up like the victim, the affidavit states.
Flores said Martinez Jr. hit her when she did not do it right.
She said after the victim managed to rip a hole in the bag, Myers got a shower curtain from the bathroom. Flores said she then wrapped it around Chappell’s head until the woman died.
She said the trio then put Chappell’s body back in the closet. The next day, the three and another man, whom police later identified as Thompson, loaded the body into an SUV and burned it in a rural area.
Flores also told detectives, according to the affidavit, that her boyfriend admitted to his father, who had been at the apartment when the alleged crime occurred, that Chappell was dead.
When Martinez Jr. told his father that the woman would have reported it to police had he let her go, Flores said the father replied, “You did what you had to do,” the affidavit states.
Police later interviewed Martinez Jr.’s father, who admitted he was inside the apartment when Chappell was slain, the affidavit states.
The father told the detectives “he did not call the police because he was protecting his son,” the affidavit states.
Loughman said investigators will confer with the Tarrant County district attorney’s office to determine if any charges will be sought against the father.
Suspects in jail, one being sought
Martinez Jr. has been jailed since Sept. 29 — the day after Chappell’s body was found — on unrelated charges of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), evading arrest and failure to identify.
He was being held in the Tarrant County Jail on Thursday with bail set in the capital murder case at $500,000.
He has refused to talk to investigators, the affidavit states.
Myers and Thompson, who were both arrested early Tuesday, have denied involvement in the slaying, the affidavit states.
Thompson was in the Mansfield jail Thursday with bail set at $50,000 on the tampering charge.
Myers was arrested in Baltimore, police said, and remained in custody there Thursday.
A capital murder warrant has also been obtained for Flores.
How to help
▪ Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Alexandria Flores is asked to call Detective Kyle Sullivan at 817-392-4340 or Crime Stoppers at 817-469-TIPS.
▪ A gofundme account has also been set up for the family of Brittany Pearl Chappell at gofundme.com