FBI: Tip led to capture of Texas fugitives

ARDMORE, Okla., Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A tip led to the capture Thursday of the two convicted murderers and two accused killers who broke out of a North Texas jail more than a week ago after overpowering two jailers.

Accused killers Charles Jordan, 30, and Chrystal Soto, 22, were arrested without incident about 10 p.m. Wednesday when Jordan was seen making a call from a pay phone outside an Ardmore convenience store, but the other two fugitives took a hostage.


Convicted killers Curtis Allen Gambill, 24, and Joshua Luke Bagwell, 23, held clerk George West, 70, for about 6 hours before releasing him and surrendering about 4:45 a.m. Thursday. West was not harmed.

An FBI agent and a deputy sheriff were checking out a tip that the four had used the pay phone earlier when they spotted Jordan, FBI Special Agent Gary Johnson said Thursday. He was arrested and Soto, his girfriend, was found hiding behind the store.


Gambill and Bagwell were inside the store and they took West hostage when they saw what was happening. They talked to a negotiator and made calls to some family members before surrendering to law officers.

"We think they had been living in the woods in that area since last Friday," Johnson said. "I don't think they had much to eat. That's what led them to this convenience store. The two that were in the store ate an incredible amount of food."

The four had been hiding in nearly Lake Murray State Park where a stolen truck was found last Saturday. They had earlier broken into homes at Ryan and Terral, stealing at least one gun and the truck.

Johnson said West remained calm through the ordeal.

"He did a good job and played it very cool," he said.

The four were being held in a jail at Ardmore, which is about 60 miles south of Oklahoma City.

Meanwhile, it was reported Thursday that a relative of one of the fugitives might face criminal charges in Montague County, Texas, for aiding the inmates in the escape.

District Attorney Tim Cole told The Dallas Morning News that investigators may soon refer charges against a relative of one of the inmates. He said the charge might be assisting a fugitive or harboring a fugitive.


The four escaped June 28 from the Montague County jail, about 40 miles southwest of Ardmore in North Texas. They overpowered two jailers and escaped in a jailer's car, which has never been found. The jailers were not injured.

Bagwell, of Waurika, Okla., and Gambill, of Terral, Okla., were convicted of murdering cheerleader Heather Rose Rich, of Waurika, on Oct. 2, 1996. They were both sentenced to life in state prison but they were back in Montague County for a new trial.

Gambill had received a second life sentence Jan. 16 for conspiracy in the Rich murder and was awaiting transfer to state prison. Bagwell had been moved from state prison to the county jail as a possible witness in Gambill's case.

The other fugitives, Soto and Jordan, both of Bowie, Texas, were facing capital murder charges in the slayings of James and Ullaine Christmas, whose bodies were found buried on land they owned near Bowie.

Latest Headlines


Follow Us