The 10-hour manhunt for murder suspect Stacey Demar Gray came to an end early Tuesday in Macon County, Ala., when he was arrested and charged in the death of Nancy Renee Eldridge, Valley police said.
The 45-year-old suspect was found by local residents in a Lily Lane yard in Notasulga, Ala., and held at gunpoint until officials with the Notasulga Police Department and Macon County Sheriff's Office took him into custody at 12:45 a.m. EDT, authorities said. At the time, Gray was armed with a semi-automatic pistol, police said.
Gray of Salem, Ala., was charged with murder in the death of 25-year-old Eldridge. He is being held in the Chambers County Jail without bond.
Columbus police said they are "looking into" also charging Gray, but Police Lt. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick declined to release any further details concerning that matter.
Eldridge went missing over the Fourth of July weekend. Her father, Ricky Eldridge, said she was last seen around 3 a.m. July 4 when friends dropped her off at her Columbus home on 46th Street. He said her mother, Nancy Gray, who lives with Renee, discovered her daughter was not home at 10:30 a.m. and her room was in disarray.
According to court documents filed in District Court, Nancy Renee Eldridge died around 3 a.m. CDT in Chambers County.
On July 7, Valley police found her body in the Osanippa Creek off of Hopewell Road. She died of blunt-force trauma to the back of the head with an unknown object, officials said.
According to a news release, two separate witnesses came forward that morning and told police that at two different times during the Fourth of July weekend they saw a black man in a dark SUV parked at the bridge where Eldridge was found.
One witness said the man was leaning over the bridge looking at the water, police said.
Valley police said they learned that Gray owned a dark SUV with the same partial tag number given by witnesses. Investigators said they also discovered evidence "in plain view within the vehicle," though they haven't described the item.
Police said they interviewed Gray and were able to disprove much of his alibi, allowing them to execute search warrants for his vehicle and a Russell County address. Evidence found at his home led to the warrant issued for his arrest on Friday, according to the release.
Valley Police Maj. Mike Reynolds said Gray was known as an acquaintance to Eldridge's family. Police received a tip that Gray and his brother were in a vehicle in the Notasulga area, and they attempted to stop the vehicle in that area Monday, Reynolds said.
Police said Gray, a passenger in the vehicle, fled into the woods. His brother, whose name has not been released, stayed in the vehicle and was arrested on a possession of a firearm by a felon charge after 10 weapons were found in the vehicle, Reynolds said.
The agencies involved in the search were the Valley Police Department, Columbus Police Department, Macon County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Office. K9s and helicopters also were used in the 10-hour manhunt.