A Powderly man has been arrested and charged with Capital Murder of Multiple Persons and Arson Causing Bodily Injury in the 2018 death of Jessica Walling and her 10-year old son, Chevy.
Bogata Police Chief David Short confirmed to myparistexas.com on Monday that 37-year-old Jonathan Fulton Smith was arrested and charged with the murders.
In early December the family of Bogata residents Jessie and Chevy reached out to the public on Facebook to help find the person responsible for their 2018 deaths.
Chief Short said that an autopsy was completed on the victims in Oct. of 2018 which lead investigators to believe that the deaths were of foul play.
At the time of the family’s call for help to the public to find the person(s) responsible, Short confirmed that there was a person of interest in the case. However, no further details could be released due to the ongoing investigation.
Over the weekend, Jackie Strunc Clark, Jessie’s mother, and Chevy’s grandmother posted of the arrest made in relation to the deaths of her beloved family members.
“Without the determination and hard work of Bogata Police Chief David Short and his officers, this case would not have been solved. They worked countless hours to gather evidence, perform interviews and at the same time do their regular duties of their Police Department,” she said.
Further stating that Jessie’s daughter, Bella, who was a survivor, due to not being at the residence the night of the fire, would be brought up by family who will keep her mother and brother’s memory alive.
Smith was charged with, Capital Murder of Multiple Persons and Arson Causing Bodily Injury or Death. He was arrested and charged on Jan. 18 and is currently being held at the Red River County jail on a $1.5 million bond.
Short advised that an investigator from the Attorney General’s criminal investigation division had aided the department in locating Smith a mere week and a half after beginning the search.
“With the help of the investigator and the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office we were able to locate and arrest Smith successfully,” said Short.
He added that due to the nature of this case, it is the biggest case the Bogata Police Department has had in its history.
Once Smith was arrested in Powderly, Short said he was thankful for the quick and efficient work from all Lamar County Office’s that enabled Smith to be taken off the streets and be held in custody.
“The judge was very helpful when speaking with him on Saturday morning, and I was pleased to hear that Smith was being held on a $1.5 million bond,” Short said.
The bond reflected the charges made against Smith. $1 million was set for the capital murder of Jessie as police believed he went to her home with clear intent, while the arson charge for her son Chevy was attached because they can not at this time prove he knew Chevy was in the home, let alone intent.
“I can not thank all departments from the Attorney General’s Office through to the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office for all their assistance in helping us find the person responsible for the horrific event that took place here in Bogata in 2018,” said Short.
Smith was known to have lived between Lamar and Red River Counties and was renting a home in Powderly at the time of his arrest. Short advised that Smith will be tried in Red River County once a date has been set.