The man suspected of kidnapping Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter was captured Monday, a day after police issued an arrest warrant for him. Arron Lewis, 33, was captured by the Little Rock Police Department and was transferred to the Pulaski County Investigations Division for questioning, said Pulaski County Sheriff Doc Holladay.
Holladay said Lewis fled from officers when they tried to apprehend him, but they eventually caught up with him on foot. “Suspects don’t always want to cooperate,” Holladay said. Lewis was facing kidnapping charges, but “depending on when we discover Mrs. Carter and her condition, those charges could change,” Holladay said, adding, “I’m hopeful she’s still alive.”
Carter went missing Thursday from a home she was showing near Little Rock. She was reported missing by her husband, Carl Carter, when she didn’t return home on time. “By 8:00, I knew something was wrong,” Carter said. When Carter went to the home she was showing, he found her car in the driveway with her purse inside, but no sign of his wife, he said. Nothing was missing from Carter’s purse, and the door of the home was left open, according to a missing poster on a Find Beverly Facebook page.
Carter’s friend and coworker, Jane Carfagno, told NBC News that she and Carl Carter both received texts from Carter’s phone after 7 p.m. that did not sound like they came from Carter. Carfagno had locked herself out of a nearby home she was showing, and when she texted Carter for help, Carter said she couldn’t come. “She’s so kind and sweet and giving … I’m thinking Beverly might have called me back.”
Carfagno said the texts that Carl Carter received later were even more suspicious. When he called to check on his wife, Carter wrote back, “I’m fine, I’m out with the girls having drinks,” Carfagno said, but “Beverly doesn’t even drink.”
Carl Carter said his wife was excited about the possibility of making a cash sale at the house she went missing from. Carfagno didn’t know who the client might be, but said another friend drove by the home and saw a gray truck in the driveway along with Carter’s car before the real estate agent went missing. The friend “gave the police that info,” Carfagno said.
Lewis was first named a person of interest, and then a suspect, shortly after he got into single-vehicle accident Sunday. Arrest warrants, which show Lewis’ bond is set at $1 million, said “there are reasonable grounds for believing” that Lewis kidnapped Carter, but police did not disclose what evidence they had. Police originally identified Lewis as Aaron, but later clarified his name was spelled Arron.
Lewis has a criminal history in Kansas, Utah and Arkansas , Minden said. Carter was sentenced to six years in prison for felony theft of property charges in Arkansas in 2011, but let out on parole in 2013, according to Shea Wilson, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Correction.
In Lewis’ Jacksonville, Ark., neighborhood, people said that he had been acting strange lately. One next-door neighbor, who only wanted to be identified as "GC," said that Lewis had recently lost weight and was often lately seen brooding on his porch after apparently losing his job. And others confirmed that on the day Carter disappeared, they had seen Lewis arrive home in mid-afternoon with a shaved bald head and scratches on his face.
— Elisha Fieldstadt and Ron Blome