POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — After an hours-long manhunt, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office has arrested the suspect in the slayings of a married couple who was shot and killed while sleeping in their Haines City home.
Todd Michael Jackson, 34, was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder and will be booked into the Polk County Jail on Saturday night, according to a news release.
Authorities said the bodies of 33-year-old Raymond Mark Cline and 37-year-old Crystal Ann Cline were located in a swampy wooded area behind their home on Windy Hill Road Friday evening.
The couple had been dead for some time. Authorities said the two had not been able to be reached by anyone since Feb. 21.
“The way we learned about [the murder] is unbelievably bizarre,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a media availability Saturday.
After their deaths, investigators learned the couple’s roommate, who is Jackson’s stepdaughter, Amberlyn Nichols, had sold Raymond Cline’s truck for $200. Nichols, 19, allegedly told someone she was selling Cline’s truck “because he had been murdered,” Judd said.
Detectives later learned Raymond Cline was accused of stealing $30,000 from Jackson. Nichols told detectives her stepfather shot Cline and his wife in the head while they slept in their home. Then he dragged the victims’ bodies through their bedroom window and dumped them in a swamp behind the house, with the help of Nichols and her boyfriend, Larry James Waters Jr.
Waters and Nichols were arrested and charged with failing to report a death, accessory after the fact, and dealing with stolen property.
Jackson was arrested near his last known place of residence in the Wabash area of Lakeland.