Haines City double murder: Polk County, Florida couple, Raymond & Crystal Cline killed over money, bodies dumped in swamp. Lakeland man, Todd Michael Jackson arrested along w/ teen girl, Amberlyn Nichols & her boyfriend Larry James Waters Jr.
A Lakeland, Florida man and a teen girl along with her boyfriend have been arrested in the double murder of a Polk County couple who were shot as they slept and then buried in the swamp behind their home according to investigators.
Todd Michael Jackson, 34, was taken into custody without incident and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Raymond and Crystal Cline, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a released Facebook statement.
Raymond, 33, and Crystal, 37, of Haines City were last seen two weeks ago on Feb. 21, Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Investigators discovered the couple’s ‘badly decomposed’ bodies on Friday after learning that a suspicious 19-year-old woman was trying to sell a truck for $200 – telling buyers the owner didn’t need it anymore, Judd said.
‘Well, do you know why the owner didn’t need the truck any longer,’ Judd asked reporters Saturday. ‘Because he was dead. He was murdered. And she was actually telling people that the victim had been shot in the head and was dead and they needed to get rid of his truck.’
‘They’re all aquatinted, I wouldn’t call them friends.’
Deputies went to the home of Amberlyn Nichols after she allegedly tried to sell Cline’s truck. Judd said Nichols admitted she and her boyfriend helped Jackson, whom she called her stepfather, hide the bodies in the backyard and led investigators to two decomposing bodies in the swampy woods.
She said her stepfather was angry because Raymond Cline owed him money. Authorities said he broke into their home and shot them both in the head while they slept.
Jackson called Nichols and her boyfriend, 19-year-old Larry James Waters Jr., to clean up the crime scene and help bury the bodies, Nichols told deputies.
According to investigators, helped Waters helped Jackson pull an air conditioning unit out of the window and shove the bodies outside. The trio then put the bodies on a furniture dolly and rolled them into the swamp.
‘Our suspect Todd (Michael Jackson) has access to the house,’ Sheriff Judd said. ‘They’re all aquatinted, I wouldn’t call them friends. But Todd Jackson who is 34 years old, goes into the bedroom while they’re asleep and murders them both.’
Judd said Jackson believed the Clines owed him about $30,000.
Nichols and Waters both face one count each of accessory after the fact and two counts of failing to report a death. Nichols faces an additional charge of dealing in stolen property WTSP reports.
The teen girl also admitted she’d been living in the Clines’ home instead of the tent in a park where she normally sleeps, investigators said.
All three made their first appearances in court on Sunday morning and were denied bonds.