Arkansas: Body of missing Sydney Sutherland found in 2020
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Quake Lewellyn, a married farmer from Jonesboro, came forward to say that he’d seen Sydney Sutherland running the day she’d disappeared having joined the group created by the family desperate to find the nurse. Victim Sydney loved jogging near her home, but with her unpredictable shift patterns, she had no set routine.
Circumstances surrounding the fate of the nurse started on August 19, when she went to visit her mum.
As she left, Sydney said she was going home to bake some “brownies or cookies”.
But when she got back, she headed out for a run on the Jackson County Road between Grubbs and Newport in Arkansas, US.
Hours later, she hadn’t returned home, and boyfriend Alex Nicholson alerted her family that he was worried.
Sydney was reported missing to police, and a large-scale search began.
Police used tracker dogs and helicopters to cover the local area.
Hundreds of locals volunteered to look, day and night.
Many in the community knew Sydney and had watched her grow up.
They hoped that there was a simple explanation for her disappearance.
Speculation began to circulate that she had fallen and injured herself somewhere whilst jogging, and couldn’t get herself to help.
Concerns grew that her vanishing was down to foul play.
Sydney’s family set up a Facebook group to try to gather information and coordinate the searches.
Police found Sydney’s iPhone abandoned in a field, a quarter of a mile from her home.
The killer stated he had seen Syndey jogging having driven past her.
The information provided by Lewellyn was put together to form a possible timeline.
Police used data from Lewellyn’s phone to try to get more information on Sydney’s possible whereabouts – and discovered that he had been in the vicinity of where Sydney’s phone had been found dead.
Authorities continued to use the data to find out where else Lewellyn had been.
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Two days after she went missing, information from Lewellyn’s mobile phone led police to Sydney’s body in a makeshift grave in a rice field.
An autopsy revealed she had died from multiple blunt force traumas.
Lewellyn was arrested and confessed that he had killed Sydney.
The murderer had initially come forward to help out with the search to avoid him being linked to having seen her by the roadside whilst jogging.
In October this year, he pleaded guilty to rape and murder charges.
He was facing a jury trial with a possible death penalty.
He claimed to have hit her with his truck, and upon examining her, found her unresponsive.
The murderer is then said to have sexually assaulted Sydney, and then buried her in a nearby rice field.
Lewellyn reversed his not guilty plea at a court appearance after entering a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty
He was sentenced to life without parole.
Outside the court, Sydney’s mum told reporters, “True justice for Sydney, my daughter, would be for her to be here.”
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