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ASP: Suspect admitted abducting, sexually assaulting Sydney Sutherland before killing her

JACKSON Region, Ark. (KAIT) – An Arkansas State Police examiner said in court Monday a man blamed for killing a 25-year-old Newport lady confessed to snatching and explicitly ambushing her before killing her.

At 2 p.m. Monday, Shake Lewellyn showed up at the Jackson District Circuit Court for his first appearance under the steady gaze of Judge Harold Erwin.

An ASP specialist said on the stand that Lewellyn “confessed to seeing Sutherland strolling on CR 41.”

Lewellyn allegedly then snatched her, took her to farmland and explicitly attacked her, at that point covered her body.

In the wake of checking on the sworn statement, Erwin discovered reasonable justification to accuse Lewellyn of capital homicide, grabbing, and assault. He requested Lewellyn be held without bond. His next court appearance is set for Oct. 1.

Lewellyn has been sent to remain in the Randolph Region prison, as the case continues.

Arraigning Lawyer Henry Boyce addressed Locale 8 News Monday and said there are loads of unanswered inquiries that must be affirmed before charges are officially recorded.

“Many individuals don’t comprehend that a capture can be made, and an individual can be placed in prison without really being officially charged,” Boyce said. “Charges depend on the watchfulness and the choice of the indicting lawyer office. It’s exclusively inside my carefulness honestly to choose what charges are conceived forward by the confirmation that the police and the sheriff’s office has assembled on the side of our case.”

Boyce additionally said he knew the two families and that while he may hold compassion toward the people in question, he realizes he should stay objective in his profession.

“I happen to by and by know the group of the person in question, as I do the group of the litigant. It’s difficult to carry on with your life in a network of this size and not think pretty much everyone,” Boyce said. “In spite of the fact that it might be significant on the misfortune, it doesn’t influence my judgment.”

Jackson County sheriff’s deputies arrested Lewellyn, 28, of Jonesboro on suspicion of murder in the death of Sydney Sutherland.

His arrest came Friday after searchers found Sutherland’s body.

According to friends and family, Sutherland went on a jog near her home on Highway 18 on Wednesday and never returned.

The Arkansas State Medical Examiner in Little Rock, using DNA collected, confirmed the body was Sutherland’s, according to Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas.

During an earlier news conference, Sheriff Lucas said Lewellyn knew Sutherland.

He said the situation was a “very tragic case” and that his department received help from countless volunteers and law enforcement agencies in the state.

The sheriff said the case was especially difficult for him because he knows the family, adding that Sutherland went to school with his daughters.

“It’s taken a toll, it really has. Just because I know the people of this county. I know this family personally. I know this young lady personally. I’ve known her and watched her grow up. It hits me personally. And that’s another reason why we want to work so hard and try to find her,” Lucas said.

Sutherland had not been seen since Wednesday afternoon. Jackson County deputies got a call Wednesday evening about Sutherland being missing. She was seen jogging off Highway 18 between Newport and Grubbs around 3 p.m., going west.

Thursday evening, authorities found Sydney Sutherland’s cell phone about a quarter-mile from her home and Highway 67.

Sheriff Lucas confirmed during a news conference that a UPS driver reported seeing Sutherland Wednesday afternoon near County Road 41.

“We just want her home,” Jennifer Eddington, Sydney’s co-worker at Harris Medical Center in Newport told our reporters during the nearly three-day search.

Eddington says anyone who knows Sydney knows she’s very bright and outgoing. She says family means everything to her.

“She’s very close to her family,” Eddington said. “We just know that she wouldn’t leave on her own without contacting somebody, that’s not her nature at all.”

The community showed up in droves, with cars lining the sides of the road, to help search for her. Her Sydney’s friends and co-workers brought food and drinks for those helping with the search.

“We are not surprised,” Eddington said. “Jackson County is just that way. We’re a close community. We just want her to be safe and be found.”

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