BOONEVILLE — Authorities have ruled the deaths of an elderly couple in southwest Fort Smith a double homicide and arrested a possible suspect Wednesday night in the slayings.
Lewis Shores, 19, was arrested after 9 p.m. Wednesday as a possible suspect in the deaths of Jimmy and Norma Grubb. Fort Smith police around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday found Jimmy Grubb, 81, and Norma Grubb, 79, dead at a residence in the 7700 block of Hermitage Drive while trying to identify the driver of a vehicle involved in a wreck that afternoon in Logan County near Booneville.
Arkansas State Police around 10 p.m. Wednesday were transporting Shores to Sebastian County, said Boonevile police dispatcher Michael Smith.
Police conducted the residence check Tuesday in Fort Smith at the request of Logan County sheriff’s officials in connection with a three-vehicle wreck they worked earlier that afternoon just west of Booneville, Sheriff Boyd Hicks said. Hicks said one of the drivers in the incident, whom Logan County officials on Wednesday believed to be Shores, caught deputies’ attention when he fled from the vehicle on foot.
“You don’t usually flee the scene of an accident,” Hicks said, adding that the suspect fled with a suitcase. He said the suitcase was later recovered and turned over to Fort Smith police for investigation.
Deputies ran the tag on the suspect’s vehicle and discovered it was registered to an elderly gentleman in Fort Smith, Hicks said. Logan County officials asked Fort Smith officers to do a check on the residence, where the Grubbs were found dead.
“The back door of the residence was unlocked,” Fort Smith police Cpl. Anthony Rice said Tuesday. Family members of the Grubbs on Wednesday declined to comment.
Officials with Arkansas State Police, the Booneville Police Department, Arkansas Department of Corrections and the Logan and Sebastian County sheriff’s offices, including SWAT team members and K-9 officers, around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday conducted a manhunt in a rural area adjacent to the intersection of East Dena Street and Woodlawn Avenue. The manhunt resulted after Shores eluded Logan County officials earlier in the day, Hicks said.
Hicks said he was waiting for additional officers outside a residence he believed Shores to be in on Venable Street in Booneville when Shores noticed him and fled on foot. He said he tackled Shores when he fled, but that Shores got away and ran into a wooded area.
Officials from Wednesday afternoon to around 8:15 p.m. blocked off a section of field near the intersection with patrol units, unmarked vehicles and specialized units. Sebastian County sheriff’s officials set up their mobile command post just west of the area.
A State Police trooper before 10 p.m. Wednesday found Shores, put him in his patrol unit and took him to Sebastian County, Smith said.
Hicks could not be reached for comment on the success of the search by press time. Booneville Police Chief Rusty Lewis said the K-9 dogs used in the search did not find him.
Although the Grubbs’ grandson, Gentry Rainwater, and his girlfriend, Destiny Joslin, were arrested as part of the investigation, neither is considered a suspect in the deaths as of Wednesday, Rice said. Police located Rainwater after receiving information that he lived with his grandparents and that he was a known absconder, according to a Police Department news release.
Rainwater was booked into the Sebastian County Detention Center on an absconding warrant and on suspicion of drug possession and Joslin on suspicion of hindering apprehension after questioning for the investigation at the Police Department, the release states.
The investigation into the double homicide is still ongoing, Rice said.