Police reveal more about Hannibal murder suspect
Mon, 02 Mar 2009 23:44:56 GMT —
We now know more about the double murder of a Hannibal woman and Monroe City man over the weekend.Police say the suspect in these murders wasn't even supposed to be in this country.
Hannibal Police Chief Lyndell Davis says 32-year-old Manuel Cazares of Hannibal was arrested Saturday in connection with the stabbings of his former girlfriend 27-year-old Amanda Thomas of Hannibal and her high school friend 25-year-old Patrick Epley of Monroe City.
Investigators have also learned he was living in the U.S. as an illegal immigrant.
The Marion County Prosecutor charged Cazares with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of armed criminal action.
Investigators are still trying to piece together the events that led up to the tragic deaths.
KHQA's Melissa Shriver shows you what they do know.Neighbor says, "Tragedy, I can't believe this happened."
Friends and family of Amanda Thomas and Carl Patrick Epley are still reeling from shock after their loved ones were found dead inside this apartment on Starlight Ridge in Hannibal near Huckleberry Park.
Police Chief Lyndell Davis said around 10 Saturday morning Manuel Cazares came to the police department to turn himself in, saying he was responsible for the murder of his former girlfriend and mother of his young child. Police say he also killed her friend who family members say was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Melissa Shriver says, "When officers arrived here at this apartment they found Thomas and Epley dead in a bedroom."
There was no sign of a forced entry into the apartment, but officers believe Cazares stabbed both victims to death with a kitchen knife.
This wasn't Cazares' first time behind bars. Police say he was arrested back in 2007 for domestic battery against Thomas. She had several orders of protection filed against Cazares since 2007. And he'd violated those before -- the latest on February 10 when he made repeated phone calls to Thomas. All three times he was arrested for violating the orders of protection and later was released on bond.
Chief Davis said Cazares disregarded the order of protection again on his last visit to Thomas' home...with tragic consequences.
Chief Davis says, "Ultimately they're just a piece of paper. It's a price we pay for living in a free society. If they want to do evil deeds they can accomplish them even with a full order."
And even more frustrating to police was Cazares' illegal status in this country. Due to information sharing constraints between local police and federal immigrations officials, no one knew he was illegal until now. Melissa Shriver, KHQA-TV 7 news Hannibal.
Cazares is in custody at the Marion County Jail on a one million dollar cash only bond. He will face the judge in court on Friday morning.
Autopsies on his victims were performed on Monday.
Cazares worked at Gran Rio in Hannibal for several years. We talked some folks who knew Cazares. They said they couldn't believe he would be capable of such a thing.We have also learned more about the victims in this tragic crime. These two deaths robbed three children of their parents. Family members say Amanda Thomas was a loving mother who wanted nothing more than a great life for her two young children -- a daughter seven year-old Skylie and a little son one and a half year-old Tabryn she had with Cazares. Until recently she worked at International Eyecare in Hannibal but had recently started taking classes at John Wood Community College to become a nurse.
Neighbors say children were at the center of Thomas' life. She would often be seen in her front yard playing with them. It's also where they carved their Halloween pumpkin.
Police say thankfully both children were staying at a relative's home at the time of the murders.
Family members of Patrick Epley say both he and Thomas went to Monroe City High School together and had met up with her Friday night to catch up. They believe he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He too leaves a young three year old son behind.
Funeral arrangements are pending for Amanda Thomas. W e do know Garner Funeral Home in Monroe City is handling arrangements.
There is also a savings account set up for Thomas' family at Hannibal National Bank.
Visitation for Patrick Epley will take place this Wednesday from 5 to 7p.m. at the James O'Donnell Funeral Home in Hannibal.
Epley's funeral is scheduled Thursday at 10 a.m.