Oklahoma teen Carina Saunders was brutally murdered as a means to frighten another woman into cooperating with a human trafficking ring, police have reported.
The 19-year-old who graduated from Mustang High School just last year was tortured, dismembered and beheaded. Parts of her body were found stuffed in a duffel bag and dumped behind a grocery store on Oct. 13. She was identified by her distinct tattoos.
Jimmy Lee Massey, 33, has been arrested on first-degree murder charges. A 20-year-old woman, whose name has not been disclosed, came forward as a witness to report she had been kidnapped by Massey and forced to watch the brutal murder in Bethany, Oklahoma, reports The Daily Mail.
Massey was already being held in Oklahoma County jail on drug charges. He has admitted to investigators that he kidnapped the 20-year-old woman and forced her to watch as others tortured and killed Saunders. He also provided details about the crime.
Both women reportedly knew Massey separately, but there is no evidence that the two women knew each other.
Police Chief Phil Cole said: Evidence in our investigation has led us to believe that she had been expected to provide certain things to this trafficking group and that she had not been performing to their satisfaction.
We believe there were other people there and they're now the focus of our investigation.
Another man, Francisco Gomez, was arrested in connection with the murder. As Gomez was led into the police station in handcuffs last night, he yelled to reporters I've got nothing to do with no drugs, no murder, no nothing.
We surrounded a possible address for Mr Gomez and he surrendered peacefully. He was booked on a trafficking charge, authorities said.
Despite the fact that she was known to run with a rough crowd and use drugs like marijuana, methamphetamine and Ecstasy, Saunders was a random choice for the killers, according to police.
Cole said, Our information right now leads us to believe she was a random choice, as sad as that is. She had relationships within these loosely associated people, and I think that she was a victim of opportunity.
Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Scott Rowland said a judgment will be made in January.
Authorities have spoken with the young woman's family. They are encouraged by this. They're hoping this is just one of many more that will be held to answer for their daughter's murder.
Emily Julum talked to News OK about Saunders. She and Saunders were in varsity choir together at Mustang High School for two years. She was talented, she was beautiful, and she wasn't afraid to speak her mind, Julum said.
We were in varsity choir together and everyone in our varsity choir was so closely knit. We traveled so much, and that's probably why we were so close. We were always around each other. It was so much fun.
She was really cool and laid back. She was so nice, but she was so tough at the same time, Julum said. She's had some tough things go on in her life, but she was really positive about everything.