UPDATE: DNA links Vance to Pressly murder, Marianna robbery assault

UPDATE: DNA links Vance to Pressly murder, Marianna robbery assault

Marianna Police investigators confirm to FOX16 News that DNA links Curtis Vance, 28, to the murder of KATV anchorwoman Anne Pressly and to a robbery and sexual assault in Lee County seven months ago.
Marianna Police investigators confirm DNA links Curtis Vance, 28, to the murder of KATV anchorwoman Anne Pressly and to a robbery and sexual assault in Lee County seven months ago.

FOX16's David Goins first reported early Friday afternoon that Vance voluntarily submitted a DNA sample at the Marianna Police Department on Tuesday.

Marianna detective Carl McCree began working a robbery and sexual assault of a high school teacher, 32, in her home on April 21.  McCree says they submitted the crime scene kit to the state crime lab the following day.  Detectives did not recieve results back for seven months due to a backlogged caseload at the crime lab in Little Rock.

"The crime lab informed us on Monday that DNA was found, but not for the person we thought was our suspect, so we had to start over." McCree told FOX16 News.  "Then Little Rock detectives called us and said unidentified DNA in our case matched the Pressly case."

Detectives brought Vance in for questioning, in part McCree says, because of the alleged actions of his girlfriend Sheanika Cooper, 25.  Cooper was charged with two counts of felony theft in Lee County earlier this month for allegedly pawning stolen goods in West Helena, AR.

"That was enough for us to bring him in for questioning on those burglaries," McCree said Friday.

Both Marianna and Little Rock detectives were present when Vance submitted his DNA sample.  McCree says the crime lab informed him on Wednesday that the sample Vance submitted matched DNA recovered in the Marianna robbery and sexual assault and the Pressly crime scene.

Little Rock police are not commenting on any evidence, maintaining forensics link Vance to Pressly's murder and that more will be revealed when an arrest affidavit is released next week.

Vance made his first appearance Friday morning.  It was not in court but at the Pulaski County detention facility.  No cameras and no one from the public was allowed inside.  He made no plea and the judge ordered Vance held with no bond.

McCree says Vance had worked at Murdock Enterprises, a contractor for construction projects in Marianna.  Reached by phone, Reginald Murdock tells FOX16 News that Vance did temporary work about 10 years ago cleaning up sites after projects were completed.

"I'm saddened by the news of his arrest,"  Murdock says.  "I fell terrible for both sides.  I followed the Anne Pressly case from a far, like everyone did.  And then to learn someone that grew up in your hometown might be responsible is really tragic."

Police make arrest in Anne Pressly murder

Curtis Vance
Curtis Vance
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS -- Little Rock police are preparing for the first court appearance for the man accused of killing KATV News Anchor Anne Pressly. A murder warrant was issued for Curtis Vance, 28, late Wednesday afternoon. Hours later vance was arrested.

Just before 4AM, police walked Vance out of police headquarters charged with capital murder. When asked if he killed Anne Pressly Vance just shook his head and was silent. Pressly’s friends and co-workers were not.

Little Rock Police believe Pressly's murder is solved. "The information that led us to this individual and to obtain the warrant came within the last week," LR Police Chief Stuart Thomas said.

After a short 10 o'clock press conference to get the word out, a suspect had been identified.
Vance was found at a house at 24th and Cross an hour later. Other people were inside when he was arrested, but no one answered the door on Thursday.

A quiet Thanksgiving Day, few people out and about. Even fewer talking about Vance's arrest. Thursday afternoon, a driver stopped only to say he's relieved and hopes police have their man..

Pressly's case was featured on America's Most Wanted and there was a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, however the police chief tells me those efforts did not lead them to Curtis Vance. Instead its forensics and what he says, is old fashioned investigative police work, something that will be critical if this case goes to trial.

Police Chief Stuart Thomas updated reporters just after midnight. And said detectives are working to see if anyone protected Vance over the last month. "If there are individuals that have hindered the investigation in any way or have harbored him in any way shape or form, we'll charge them," Thomas said.

If there is a motive, police aren't saying, other than robbery and murder. Vance has no prison record and apparently lived in multiple locations. "We're trying to resolve that now but we know that he's lived here previously because I believe in 2002 he had a traffic citation that showed a Little Rock address."

Right now his address is the Pulaski County Jail. Vance is being held in the county detention center on no bond. He is scheduled to make his first appearance Friday morning at an arraignment inside the jail.

RAW: Curtis Vance perp walk
Anne Pressly Police News Conference
Pressly's father reacts to suspect news
Live interview with LR Police Chief about arrest of murder suspect
Pressly's father at press conference
RAW: Q&A with Chief Stuart Thomas
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