An Arkansas farmer who reportedly ‘confessed’ to murdering a jogger he was said to have been ‘familiar’ with had won the county’s Family of the Year in 2016.
Quake Lewellyn, 28, was charged with one count of capital murder after the body of Sydney Sutherland, 25, was discovered in Newport on Friday, according to online court records.
Lewellyn is said to have confessed to the crime, according to the parents of Sydney Sutherland’s boyfriend Alex. Cathy Hood wrote: ‘They have arrested the person that has committed this horrible crime. He has admitted doing this. Also pray for his family as they have to face what has happened.’
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 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.
Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas confirmed a man has been arrested in connection to her death and is expected to be charged with homicide, Fox 16 had reported.
Sydney Sutherland (left) 25, was found murdered near her home in Newport, Arkansas on Friday. Quake Lewellyn, 28, (right) a farmer from Jonesboro, has been named by local media as the man arrested Friday and charged in connection to her death
This still shared from Ring footage of a family member is believed to be the last picture of Sutherland and was taken just 90 minutes before she went on a run near her home Wednesday
Details on where exactly Sutherland’s body was found and how she was killed were not immediately released.
‘We do have a suspect in custody at this time. However I can’t release his name until he’s formally charged,’ Lucas said in a press conference.
He was later identified by local news station KARK 4 on Saturday as Lewellyn.
Sutherland shared regular photos to Facebook of her work as a nurse. Pictured in her scrubs
Sydney was last seen running on State Hwy 18 near her home at around 3pm on Wednesday
He has been charged with one count of capital murder, according to online jail booking records cited by the outlet.
Footage from local media showed Lewellyn in handcuffs and being taken into the Arkansas State Police Headquarters in Newport on Friday.
Police said the man is a farmer from Jonesboro and was known to the victim, but the nature of their relationship is unclear.
Prior to Friday, police had discovered Sutherland’s iPhone about a quarter-mile from her home.
She was reported to have gone on running with her phone and Apple Watch.
The alleged suspect 28-year-old Quake Lewellyn being taken into custody on Friday
Sutherland’s body was found near her home on Friday however further details on where she was murdered and how she died were not immediately released
Sutherland lived with her boyfriend, pictured, and worked as a nurse at Harris Medical Center
A UPS driver reported to have seen Sutherland jogging in the area of Jackson County Road 41.
Other reports of a Texas truck being seen in the area were dismissed by police who said the rumor was damaging the investigation.
On Thursday, a relative shared what is now believed to be the last picture of Sutherland, taken from Ring footage at their house not long before she went on her run.
Sutherland worked as a nurse, according to her Facebook page
She is seen in pink sneakers, black shorts and a white tank top moving items on the trunk of a car.
Her car and other items remained at home as she went on her run and she was reported missing on Wednesday evening when she didn’t return.
‘This was at 1pm on 8/19/20 at our house. She went for a walk around 230pm by her house on HWY 18. Please help us find our sassy!!’ wrote Summer Sutherland.
Her remains were found the next day just north of her home and the suspect was taken into custody a short time later.
The sheriff’s office has not revealed how they identified the suspect or if evidence was found at the scene.
According to FOX16, the State Medical Examiners Office confirmed the identity of the body found Friday as Sydney Sutherland through DNA.
Her body has been sent to Arkansas Crime Lab as the investigation continues.
A bond hearing and arraignment may be as soon as Monday as after prosecutor Henry Boyce reviews the case and decides on formal charges, FOX16 states.
Sutherland worked as a nurse, according to her Facebook page, and lived with her boyfriend.
Sutherland was described by her coworkers as bright and outgoing
She regularly jogged along the highway near her home. Pictured with her boyfriend
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.’
Sheriff Lucas said he knew Sutherland personally and described her death as ‘tragic’
The close-knit Jackson County community has been left heartbroken by her death
Lines of cars had joined the search to find Sutherland in the small close-knit community.
Over 200 volunteers joined the sheriff’s office along Highway 18 desperate for any signs of the missing woman.
‘We are not surprised,’ Eddington said. ‘Jackson County is just that way. We’re a close community. We just want her to be safe and be found.’
The discovery of her remains have left the community heartbroken as they share tributes to the young woman.
‘I’m sitting here trying to find the words to say and I can’t find none. No words can take away the pain Sydney’s family is feeling,’ wrote Jackson County Emergency Management on Facebook.
‘I want to thank all the hundreds of volunteers who showed up over the last 3 days and helped in any way you could. I really do appreciate it and I tried to tell you all personally but if I missed you THANK YOU!’