A real estate agent, whose body was found in a shallow grave early Tuesday, had been contacted by the suspect in her murder to view a house in Scott, investigators said.
A few key details of the investigation by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office were shared during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, 33-year-old Arron Michael Lewis pleaded not guilty to preliminary charges of capital murder, kidnapping and robbery. He had been arrested by Little Rock Police Monday.
The body of 49-year-old Beverly Carter was found at Argos Concrete Company, about 25 miles northeast of Little Rock, where police say Lewis had previously worked. Carter’s cell phone, investigators said, led them to Lewis.
"We were able to do some tracking out there. There’s some information on the victim’s phone and some other data that we went through," said Capt. Simon Haynes. He said they don’t know why Carter was targeted and that she and the suspect did not know each other. Authorities would not say how Carter died.
"This case did not end as we had hoped, but now we must move forward to prepare a case for submission for trial that will result in the pursuit of justice," said Pulaski County Sheriff Doc Holladay.
"The investigation is continuing and we have a lot more work to do, a lot more that’s going to be going into this investigation, but at this time we are not seeking any other suspects."
Lewis had suggested to reporters while being led out to a police car that a second suspect named Trevor had been involved. At this point, investigators are doubtful.
"Trevor was cooperative when he came in and talked to us and Trevor, by our interview, we believe has nothing to do with this case at this particular time," Haynes said. But he added, "the case is still in its infancy. While an arrest has been made, we have a lot of work to do in gathering more evidence and information."
Standing alongside investigators, Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley said his office will make sure that justice is delivered.
"Events like this stain the soul of our community. They leave scars and we know that and we also know that many of ya’ll are wanting answers that simply can’t be given at this time," Jegley said. "We would ask you to understand because these guys have a lot of work to do yet, but rest assured we will see it through. Once the baton is handed off to my office, we’ll get it across the finish line."
Carter was last seen when she went to show a house that was on the market. Her husband contacted authorities when he didn’t hear from her and found her vehicle was abandoned at the home and the front door open.
During Tuesday’s press conference, which was held in a training room at the Pulaski County Jail, many of Carter’s colleagues wore red shirts in a show of unity. Many had taken part in wide scale searches that were held in the days after her disappearance.
David Goldstein worked with Carter for 11 years and read a statement from the company.
"On behalf of the owners, management and the entire Crye-Leike family, we would like to express our deepest condolences to the Carter Family for their loss. Our hearts are heavy for the pain and suffering this terrible event has caused them."
Goldstein said real estate agents have long been cautious and avoid meeting strangers alone at homes that are for sale. Ideally, he said they meet in their offices to first learn more about the needs of potential clients and build a relationship.
Goldstein also thanked investigators for their work in the case.
Sheriff Holladay said they had feverishly pursued the case, knowing time was of the essence.
"We believed her life was at stake and we wanted to do everything that we could to find her while she was still alive. We weren’t able to do that, but we didn’t know for sure until around midnight that she was not alive. So we were just working as hard, as desperately as we could to find her."