BRENTWOOD, Mo. (KMOV.com/AP) -- Following an intense manhunt, the South Carolina man wanted in a multi-state crime spree has been apprehended Monday morning.
The Chester County Sheriff’s Department confirmed 26-year-old Tyler Terry was taken into custody without incident just past 9:30 a.m. The Major Case Squad of St. Louis identified Terry, and Adrienne Simpson, 34, as suspects in the homicide investigations of a man in Brentwood and a woman in University City. Police said the duo was wanted for murder in South Carolina and were involved in a shootout there with police last week.
TIMELINE OF CRIMES
Terry is charged with the May 2 murder of Thomas Durrell Hardin and two separate shootings in South Carolina on that date. Simpson is believed to also be connected to the three South Carolina crimes and allegedly drove the vehicle during Hardin’s murder. A body found in Great Falls, South Carolina on Wednesday was identified as Simpson’s 33-year-old husband Eugene Simpson. Authorities have not said how he died. He had been reported missing May 2.
The St. Louis shootings happened on May 15. Police said they found information that connected the wanted vehicle, via stolen license plate information, to a location in north St. Louis, where the suspects went to buy drugs. At some point after that purchase, the pair left the St. Louis region and drove back to South Carolina. Around 11 p.m. on May 17, Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey said Terry and Simpson led deputies on a chase that reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour and spanned more than 20 miles. During the chase, the suspects allegedly fired shots at deputies, striking at least two law enforcement vehicles, according to WSOC-TV. Deputies fired back at the suspects’ car, but it is not known if anyone inside was struck by the return fire.
The suspects’ car eventually crashed on Highway 9 in Chester County. Simpson, who was driving, was arrested at the scene but Terry ran off into the woods. He has not been found as of Friday morning. The Chester County Sheriff's Office told News 4 there are about 100 officers that are part of an around-the-clock manhunt for Terry.
"This subject has nothing to lose. He's brought a lot of danger and destruction to this community and apparently to another state," said Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey.
"We cannot find a tie to either one of these people to St. Louis. From now what it appears, this modern day version of Bonnie and Clyde do several violent crime in South Carolina then travel across the country," Joseph Spiess, Jr., chief of the Brentwood Police Department, said of the suspects. "What they did between South Carolina and Missouri, we do not know."
Spiess said the murders of Dr. Sergei Zacharev in Brentwood and Barbara Goodkin in University City were motivated by robbery.
A friend of Zacharev said his family is devastated by the loss and busy finalizing funeral plans. But he said he was pleased with the progress of the investigation.
"There is some relief about the results of the investigation," he said.
Police say there were no connections between either of the victims or the suspects.
"This is a very isolated series of events. It's not like we have sociopaths - psychopaths - running around, shooting people, doing robberies everyday," Spiess said. "It is certainly scary but it is a very isolated event."
Detectives from the Major Case Squad are traveled to South Carolina Thursday to meet with detectives there as they continue to piece together their timeline. They also plan to interview Simpson, who is in jail.
“Perhaps the most difficult homicide cases to solve are when the victim and suspects don’t know each other and you have suspects who are not from your area,” Spiess Jr. said of the detectives working the cases. “These are two ingredients that make it extremely difficult to solve. But they have."
For more than a week, law enforcement began closing roads and streets in South Carolina after more leads started pouring in. During a press conference with local new stations, Chester County Sheriff's office spokesman Grant Suskin said said the fugitive made a mistake Sunday when he was spotted running across Highway 9 wearing all black and no shoes. After the recent sighting, police set up a perimeter to search for him. The sheriff added the area had a lot of tree growth which was hard for air support to locate him with the canopy of trees.
At 9 a.m. Monday, the sheriff's office said that 300 law enforcement officers from neighboring agencies were searching near Highway 99 and Highway 9 in Chester County, South Carolina. Thirty minutes later, his arrest was announced after he surrendered peacefully.
"He was tired and thirsty. He was all cut up with bug bites and his clothes were torn," Suskin said. "There was no indication that he tried to fight."
When asked how Terry was able to elude police for so long, Suskin said he was homeless at some periods of his life where he lived in the woods.
“He was extremely fast and agile,” Suskin described the moments leading up the 26-year-old’s capture. "It adds to the fact that he had nothing to lose based on what he was faced with.”
Investigators didn’t think Terry was getting any help, but broke into vehicles or possibly barns and sheds and lived off the land. He managed to steal a gun, water, shirt and shoes from an unlocked work truck last week, authorities said.
Terry is headed to Chester County jail until a bond hearing is set.