Woman Seen on Surveillance Footage With Alleged Killer Before She Was Dismembered, Burned
The last moments of a murdered Texas woman’s life may have been captured on surveillance footage, showing her meeting the man police say went on to kill her.
Jacqueline Vandagriff, 24, had posted on social media that she was walking to a bar near her home on the evening of September 13.
Police said she would go on to meet Charles Bryant, 30, whom she spent time with at two bars before leaving at about 10 p.m.
Vandagriff can be seen smiling and talking to Bryant in a series of five videos from Fry Street Public House and Shots & Crafts obtained by local media.
Investigators are working to determine if it was the first time the pair had met.
“She was careful. Like if we were out she was always like ‘make sure you get your drink from the bartender, [not a stranger],” Emma Hickman, 25, who had been friends with Vandagriff since 2010 when they attended school together, told InsideEdition.com.
“She was just not like that, to go off with someone … but if you meet someone and if they wanted to move on to the movies after or to another location, I’d go," Hackman said. "He looked normal, he even looked handsome. But I guess some of the craziest people are the best at hiding it.”
The two watering holes Vandagriff was seen at are located on Avenue A in Denton, a popular strip for college students and locals looking for a casual night out, Hickman said.
“Because it was [that area], Jackie might have been more comfortable going by herself,” she said.
Vandagriff’s remains were found burned and dismembered in the woods off a trail in Acorn Woods Park at about 6:30 a.m. the next morning, September 14, authorities said.
The thought that such a kindhearted, thoughtful person would meet such a violent end has left those who loved her devastated.
“She was such a good person and that’s what kills me. It’s going to haunt me forever,” Hackman said. “Even if she did feel a tad uncomfortable, she was so scared of hurting someone’s feelings. She would never be mean; I know there’s nothing she could’ve done to set him off.”
Bryant had been arrested for stalking a University of North Texas student in the weeks leading up to Vandagriff’s death, violating an emergency protective order numerous times, authorities said.
Police said his ex-girlfriend has an active protective order out against Bryant for stalking and harassment, but it was not immediately clear if these complaints were from separate women.
“Maybe she said something that his ex used to say; maybe she did something that his ex used to do,” Hackman wondered aloud. “Obviously, he’s a very, very, very evil, messed up individual. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that’s going to kill me forever.”
Bryant was arrested Sunday after police allegedly discovered he was the last person to see Vandagriff alive, he had the same type of kiddie pool in which her body was found and that her purse was in his trash.
He initially denied leaving the bar with Vandagriff, police said.
An avid social media user, Bryant posted frequently on Facebook both before and after police say he committed the murder, writing around the time police said Vandagriff was last seen alive, “Teach you tricks that will blow your mind.”
Bryant also went to work as usual, showing up for a shift at the Urban Cowboy Saloon where he worked as a bartender.
“He was smiling, acting like he usually did, interacting with everybody, just doing his job,” Matt Bowen, 24, who goes to the bar regularly, told InsideEdition.com. “It’s just chilling to think he showed no signs of what happened, it’s just sickening.”
Bryant had worked at the bar for about a month and was considered a fun bartender, socializing with customers as he did his job.
“I enjoyed going when he was working,” Bowen said. “My first impression was, ‘he’s good looking and he’s a real nice guy.’ Everybody else seemed to like him as well. We’re all in such shock.”
Bryant was charged with capital murder and is being held on $1 million bond.
If he is found guilty, he could face the death penalty, which Hackman is holding out hope for.
“I hope he rots in hell for all eternity,” Hackman said. “I hope he gets the death penalty... I have no sympathy for him... for him to be able to hurt such a pure, sweet, quiet, small person... he’s evil to the core."
She added: "He’s just a monster.”