Police have arrested a 46-year-old truck driver in connection with the Aug. 27 kidnapping and strangulation death of 17-year-old Casey Crowder.
Kenneth Osburn, of the Wolfe Project, a rural community near McGehee, was arrested at 3:50 p.m. Thursday on the north edge of the McGehee city limits, according to Desha County Sheriff-elect, Jim Snyder.
Osburn likely will be charged with capital murder and kidnapping, Snyder said.
Snyder confirmed that Osburn is the owner of a white Chevrolet pickup truck the state crime lab tested for possible evidence in the case, but declined to say what, if any, evidence was found in the truck that would link the man to the girl’s murder. “They’re not finished yet,” he said, referring to crime lab technicians and examiners.
He did, however, confirm that police had viewed surveillance tapes from videos located at businesses at along U.S. 65 at Dumas where Casey is believed to have been abducted when her vehicle ran out of gas while returning home to Pine Bluff from her boyfriend’s home near Pickens.
Casey’s body was found in eastern Desha County on Sept. 2, six days after she disappeared.
Tenth Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen said late Thursday night that Casey had been strangled to death, but declined to disclose what was used to strangle her.
Since Casey’s disappearance, investigators from numerous law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have conducted a number of interviews.
“The interviews were priceless in this case,” Snyder said.
Around the same time police were arresting Osburn Thursday afternoon, state police were interviewing Osburn’s daughter, who could be heard vomiting and crying from the lobby of the Southeast Arkansas Law Enforcement Center at Dumas.
When she exited the interview room 45 minutes later, she told family members, “They’re going to try to get me too.”
Later, Snyder was asked if the girl was in trouble. “I don’t think she’s in any kind of trouble at all,” Snyder said.
Asked if Osburn has a criminal history, Snyder said he spent some time in the Arkansas Department of Correction for theft and confirmed that his record had been expunged. He said he doesn’t know why the record was expunged.
Snyder, who is in his 39th year in law enforcement, said the case, like all homicide cases involving children, has been hard on all of those involved in the investigation. “You never get used to working homicides when a child is involved,” he said.
Osburn is currently being held at the Dumas jail and is expected to be arraigned today at the Desha County courthouse in Arkansas City.