Quake Lewellyn Arkansas man charged in Sydney Claire Sutherland abduction, rape & murder during probable cause hearing. Jonesboro farmer confessed to nurse jogger’s killing.
A local farmer is accused of abducting, raping, murdering and burying a nurse who went missing while jogging in Arkansas last week according to a probable cause.
Sydney Claire Sutherland, 25, was reported missing on August 19 after she failed to return home from an afternoon jog and she was found dead near her home in Newport, Arkansas on Friday.
Third generation farmer Quake Lewellyn, 28, of Jonesboro, was charged with capital murder, kidnapping and rape of Sutherland. The woman’s remains were buried on a farm.
On Monday, police during a probable cause hearing said that Lewellyn spotted Sutherland on the highway as he was driving, doubled back, and abducted her then drove three miles away to a farm to rape her.
Lewellyn was silent and emotionless as he wore a bullet-proof vest and an orange prison jumpsuit as he walked up to the Jackson County courthouse for Monday afternoon’s hearing.
Authorities said he confessed to her killing when they questioned him about Sutherland’s disappearance.
Arkansas State Police agent Mike McNeal took the stand and explained how Lewellyn was traveling westbound on County Road 41 when he saw Sutherland walking by and turned around to abduct her.
He forced her in the back of his pick-up truck, drove about three miles to a farm where he raped her, killed her, then buried her body, according to KAIT. Jackson County prosecutors Henry Boyce said he was waiting on the return of autopsy results before deciding on whether he would seek the death penalty.
Police found Sutherland’s body following a three-day search operation using K-9 units and helicopter crews.
She was last seen running on State Hwy 18 between Newport and Grubbs around 3pm on Wednesday. On Friday a body was found and those remains were identified as Sutherland’s over the weekend.
The brief hearing did not address how Sutherland died. Sutherland’s family was present at the courthouse.
The judge found cause to charge Lewellyn and he was ordered to be held without bond until his next court date on October 1. He will now remain at Randolph County jail.
Sydney Sutherland: Suspect in death knew victim and joined search party Facebook group https://t.co/Raqeq5XL5m
— Indy World (@IndyWorld) August 24, 2020
Fateful afternoon run
True family farmer known in the community
In 2016 Lewellyn, a Tuckerman High School graduate, was named as Jackson County Farm Family of the Year alongside his father Michael and grandfather Donald.
Quake told ArkansasOnline.com: ‘I’ve always worked on the farm. I began driving a yellow Ford, … hauling seed for dad. We all have our own farms, but we help each other out.’
Dad Michael added: ‘We are a true family farm. From my dad, Donald, to me, to my son, Quake.’ The family are said to own 5,800 acres in four counties.
Police on Friday arrested the Jonesboro farmer suspect, who was known to the victim, but the nature of their relationship is unclear.
Sutherland worked as a nurse, according to her Facebook page, and lived with her boyfriend.
Concern for females as targets
The sheriff confirmed there was no indication of any issues with her boyfriend when the search was launched.
She worked at Harris Medical Center in Newport, where co-workers described her as bright and outgoing.
‘She’s very close to her family,’ her co-worker Jennifer Eddington told WMC5 before she was found.
‘We just know that she wouldn’t leave on her own without contacting somebody, that’s not her nature at all.’
The sheriff has praised the local efforts in the search for Sutherland in what was a ‘very tragic case’.
‘It’s taken a toll, it really has,’ he said.
‘Just because I know the people of this county. I know this family personally. I know this young lady personally. I’ve known her and watched her grow up. It hits me personally.’
No known motive was offered for the brutal crime.