UPDATE 4: Man charged with using murdered woman's credit card
EAST RIDGE, TN. (WRCB) -- An East Ridge man is behind bars linked to 70-year-old murder victim Jane Stokes. Police released a surveillance picture of 43-year-old Randall Reed using Stokes' credit card Thursday.
The picture shows Reed at a Chattanooga area ATM after Stokes was found dead in her home. Reed is charged with theft, but police haven't directly linked him to the homicide investigation.
Friday, we learned Jane Stokes died by suffocation, four to six hours before her body was found.
"I was extraordinarily shocked by the news," says Chattanooga First Presbyterian Church Associate Pastor, Joel Treick. "Jane didn't have an enemy in the world."
Treick first met Stokes when she asked him to house sit six years ago. "She was going overseas for a mission trip," he says. "I watched over the house and her cat."
From then on the pastor and his church member became good friends. "She loved her family," Treick says. "She had pictures of her grand kids and daughters all throughout her house"
In the days since the 70-year-old's murder, Treick says he's spent a lot of time in prayer. A friend stopped by to check on Stokes Wednesday morning, and found her lying on her bedroom floor. Jane Stokes' hands were tied behind her back with a plastic bag wrapped around her head.
"Mr. Randall Reed has been charged in connection with theft, but not in connection with the homicide," says East Ridge Police spokesman, Eric Hopkins.
Police say Reed used Stokes' credit card at Chattanooga area ATM machines within an hour and a half of her death. After his photo was released to the media, Reed turned himself in.
"Investigators are following other leads and letting the evidence speak for itself," Hopkins says. "Whether that will reveal Mr. Reed is connected with the murder, I don't know."
Randall Reed has a history of theft and burglary. He was arrested Wednesday night and then police searched his Travelodge motel room and vehicle for any evidence. They haven't said what they found, one of many questions still unanswered.
"Investigators are working on that now," Hopkins says. "They're trying to find out if it was a random event or if she was targeted."
Treick says he's asked God why more than once this week, but right now his focus is on the family.
"We simply want to come alongside of the family and love them well," the pastor says.
Investigators say there were no signs of forced entry to Stokes' home. Family members began making funeral arrangements Friday for some time next week. Details have not yet been finalized.