Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen called it “the weekend from hell” during a news conference Monday morning.
Deputies worked long hours over the weekend investigating two separate homicides that although not connected, were only a mile or two apart.
The names of the victims in the first incident were released for the first time Monday. Carla Maria Hight, 59, was killed at the hands of Christopher David Powell, 31, Tiffany Powell, 28 and Justin McCallihan, 31. Sarah Christine Stewart, 33, investigators said. The foursome all face a charge of accessory after the fact to murder. Deputies say Hight died from a gunshot wound.
The Powells and McCallihan also face an attempted murder charge for injuries caused to Marie Rachel Foxworthy, 43. Investigators said Foxworthy was transported to a local hospital in critical condition, adding that she was found badly beaten. Officials told News 13 Monday night that she has been released from the hospital.
The incident happened on Owenwood Road, north of Fountain in Bay County. The Sheriff’s Office responded Saturday afternoon when a man went to the BCSO Northern Substation saying he went to visit a friend and found her dead in her home.
All four suspects were arrested Sunday. McCallihan and Stewart were arrested at an apartment at 11th Street and Transmitter. The Powells were taken into custody in Alabama on Highway 231. Two children with them are now with the Florida Department of Children and Families.
In the second case, Izabella Heffernan, 10, was found dead in a large field behind her home late Sunday afternoon. Investigators say her brother, Fredrick Matthew Lochridge, 15, killed her. McKeithen said talking to the teen was not like talking to a child but talking to a 30-year-old murderer.
The arrest affidavit says Lochridge admitted to shooting his sister with a .22 after 3:00 a.m. after mistaking her for a deer. He later said it was an accident and he thought someone was attacking her. In a third statement he said he was trying to teach her how to use the rifle and accidentally shot her in the chest. When she started making gurgling noises he said, “I didn’t know exactly how to deal with that, so I shot her again.”
The report says Lochridge then moved Izabella’s body, cleaned her body and changed her clothes into a white dress. He then hid the rifle, later telling investigators where it was located.
McKeithen says they are not ruling out sexual battery. He also said there were many details they did not know when they first responded to the call for a missing person. They say the father of the children suspected the son knew something and had actually handcuffed him earlier in the day. Izabella was reported missing by her family around 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
McKeithen said the State Attorney’s Office will seek the highest charge they can of second degree murder. He added they are working with prosecutor Larry Basford to seek a charge of first degree murder through a grand jury indictment.