Captured Reserve couple continue to buck system
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 18, 2012
By ROBIN SHANNON
LAPLACE – A Reserve couple who have been wanted since August after failing to show in court to face a second-degree murder trial in the 2008 death of their 8-year-old son was apprehended Saturday morning by authorities in Tift County Georgia.
Bounty hunters and U.S. Marshals spent the past seven months searching for Errol and Tonya Victor before they were tracked down outside Tifton, Ga., a small town in the south central part of the state. The Victors are accused of second-degree murder in the 2008 death of 8-year-old M.L. Lloyd III, who is Tonya Victor’s son and Errol Victor’s stepson. The couple allegedly severely beat the young child before taking him to River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace, where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities looking for the couple gained an assist Friday after the Victors’ story was featured on the television show “America’s Most Wanted.
The Victors were arrested without incident around 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The U.S Marshall Service, with the assistance of the Tifton Police Department, Tift County sheriff’s deputies and Georgia State Patrol, helped capture the fugitives.
“Our investigators here in St. John were told that the U.S. Marshals were receiving calls about their whereabouts not long after the show ended,” said St. John Sheriff Wayne Jones. “We are certainly glad they are incarcerated and I commend all the agencies involved. Now we can shift our focus on getting them back here to face trial.”
Jones said the victors have “completely refused to cooperate” with authorities in Georgia and have refused to be voluntarily returned to St. John Parish.
The pair has also refused to confirm their identities to authorities.
David Haire of the Tift County Sheriff’s Office said the Victors continued to be uncooperative Monday during their arraignment in state court in Georgia. He said the couple signed court documents with only their first names and inmate numbers. As a result, they have been charged in Georgia with obstruction or hindering law enforcement officers without force.
Haire said it is not clear how long the Victors resided in Tifton. A bond recovery agent had tracked them in the area back in August, but lost them. Haire said the couple had been using aliases, which he declined to release, and said they were relying on Christian Charity for aid. The Victors had also cut off all electronic communication, according to the U.S. Marshals Office, and stopped using cell phones, the Internet and other devices.
Authorities with the U.S. Marshals said the Victors were living out of boxes and moved every couple of weeks to a new home in the Tifton area.
The couple was posing as a preacher and preacher’s wife and claimed they were going to open a church in the area.
Jones said authorities don’t know why the Victors chose Tift County as their hiding location. Tifton is a mostly rural community with a population of about 45,000 and is about 180 miles south of Atlanta. The Marshals office had identified a possible relative of Tonya Victor who lived in the general area of Tifton, but authorities could not confirm that the relative was there.
Now that the Victors have refused extradition, Jones said authorities must obtain a governor’s warrant from Louisiana, which is sometimes a lengthy process because of the amount of paperwork involved.
Jones said he hoped to have them back by the end of the month, but he said the process could take up to six weeks to complete. The process could be expedited due to the seriousness of the alleged crime.