DALLAS — Investigators say Michael Roberts, of Arkansas, drove down to North Texas three different times in attempts to reconnect with his 26-year-old ex-girlfriend.
On one of those trips in 2013, he pulled a knife on her, authorities allege. Roberts was due in a Collin County courtroom on July 10 because of that crime. However, concerned that it might jeopardize his National Guard job, Roberts teamed up with fellow Guardsman Theron Vance to kill his ex and thereby prevent the case from going to court, authorities allege.
Investigators say the two men drove to North Texas in June and that Roberts, disguised in a wig and sunglasses, followed the young woman up the stairs of her North Dallas apartment. He then pushed her inside and began choking her before abruptly deciding to kidnap her instead. Before she was abducted, the woman was able to leave a note to her roommate to call 911.
The trio then hit the road, making a pit stop at a Love’s Truck Stop in Oklahoma, where the woman left another note in the restroom identifying her attackers and asking for help. Police were called and issued a bulletin, but by then the group was on the road again.
They ended up at Roberts’ house in Bentonville Arkansas, where police say a third man, Jason Petitt, had stayed behind to create an alibi. Authorities say Petitt used Roberts' cellphone, car and debit card so it would appear he had never left town.
But, police say the scheme fell apart the next day when Roberts took his captive to a Bentonville Super Wal-Mart, where she passed yet another note begging for help to a store employee who called police. The woman was finally rescued and all three suspects were arrested.
The suspects are charged with crimes ranging from aggravated kidnapping to intimidating a witness and conspiracy to commit murder. They're jailed in Arkansas and will go through proceedings there before going through hearings for potential extradition to Texas. Dallas police are referring any inquiries about the men to the FBI.
The Arkansas National Guard says it has suspended security clearances for Roberts and Vance and is awaiting the outcome of the case before deciding whether to take further action against them.