Man Wanted for Stalking Ex-Girlfriend Arrested in Murder of Student He Met at Bar: Cops
Jacqueline Vandagriff's burned, dismembered body was found hours after she was seen leaving a bar with Charles Dean Bryant, 30, police said.
A Texas man with an alleged history of stalking was arrested for the murder of a college student whose burned, dismembered body was found hours after they were seen leaving a bar together, officials said.
Grapevine firefighters discovered the remains of Jacqueline Vandagriff, 24, when they responded to reports of a blaze in the woods off a trail in Acorn Woods Park at about 6:30 a.m. September 14, police said in an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by InsideEdition.com.
Vandagriff’s body had been dismembered and left in a blue plastic pool. The remains were then set on fire with an accelerant, according to the affidavit. A witness told cops they saw a man standing over the fire.
An autopsy will determine the woman's official cause of death, officials said.
Investigators determined that the night before her body was found, Vandagriff walked to the Fry Street Public House in Denton, where she met Charles Dean Bryant, 30. The pair moved on to Shots and Crafts down the road before leaving together at about 9:45 p.m., police said.
Investigators are working to determine whether the pair had been in contact prior to meeting on September 13.
Surveillance footage at a nearby Walmart showed Bryant purchasing a shovel in the early hours of September 14, authorities said. Authorities noted that a hole had been dug in his backyard.
Authorities with a search warrant for Bryant’s home discovered Vandagriff’s purse among his trash, cops said.
Police also found a blue kiddie pool in Bryant’s backyard that looked like the pool found at the crime scene, but they also discovered a round patch of dead grass the same size as the pool, the affidavit said.
Bryant’s roommate told police there had recently been two kiddie pools in the backyard, cops said.
Bryant’s ex-girlfriend also told investigators about the pool, officials said.
The woman has an active protective order out against Bryant for stalking and harassment, officials said.
A spokesperson with the University of North Texas told InsideEdition.com that a student there complained to police about Bryant on August 24.
UNT issued a no trespass order against Bryant, who is in no way affiliated with the University, but he showed up on campus again on September 6, officials said.
He was arrested for criminal trespass for violating the order that day, but he allegedly tried to contact the student again, authorities said.
UNT Police arrested Bryant for stalking on September 7 and an emergency protective order was then issued against him, the spokesperson said.
Another arrest warrant was issued against Bryant on Saturday for harassment and violating the protective order, officials said.
It was not immediately clear if the UNT student and Bryant’s ex-girlfriend were separate cases.
Bryant was arrested at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday and was charged with capital murder. He is being held on $1 million bond.
He initially denied leaving the bar with Vandagriff, police said.
Investigators are aware and “actively looking into” several posts made on Vandagriff’s Twitter account days after her murder, according to reports.
An avid social media user, Bryant posted frequently on Facebook both before and after police say he committed the murder.
“Teach you tricks that will blow your mind,” he wrote around the time police said Vandagriff was last seen alive.
His next post came on September 15, writing: “Full moon... Let’s see what trouble I can get into.”
Friends of Bryant, who wrote on Facebook that he worked as a personal trainer at Procore Fitness, were stunned that he had been accused of such a gruesome crime.
“Crazy I would not have Pinned Charles Dean Bryant for such a Crazy Crime!” one person wrote.
“Crazy how he was just out and about like nothing happened the days after if he really did do it,” another person posted.
Bryant also worked as a bartender at The Urban Cowboy Saloon, where a patron said he worked the day before his arrest.
“Just goes to show you never really know who or what you're dealing with in a person … I was actually there Saturday and it's crazy to sit back and think that he did not act any differently in any way compared to the other times I've been there while he was working. Such a shock,” the man wrote on Facebook.
Bryan was terminated from his position at the bar after he failed to show up for a shift on Sunday, the bar said in a statement.
“We, The Urban Cowboy Saloon, would like to acknowledge the disturbing news that has broke... We are grieving with our community and offer our deepest condolences for the Vandagriff family and friends,” the bar said.
Vandagriff was a licensed esthetician and a junior at Texas Woman’s University where she was studying nutrition.
“Jacqueline exemplified the spirit of learning and service that is the hallmark of our TWU community. She lived her life with a desire to serve others through her interest in nutrition,” Monica Mendez-Grant, vice president for student life at the University, said in a statement.
“A loss of this magnitude reminds us how special and fleeting life can be. May her loss also remind our community how important it is to reach out to one another to offer strength and support and to seek help when needed.”
Loved ones were at a loss to make sense of Vandagriff’s tragic death.
“She had a passion like no other and a heart as pure as an angel. Her drive inspired me to be better every day,” her best friend wrote on a GoFundMe page created to offset burial costs.
“She wanted to make people the best they could be, a trait she had since the day we met in 2006. She always picked up your phone call no matter what time it was, she would lift you up when you would feel the lowest,” she continued. “Her spirit was one of a kind. One that will be remembered forever. That little strawberry red head girl will always be in our hearts.”
Vandagriff’s family reportedly thanked law enforcement for their work in bringing who is believed responsible for their daughter’s grisly murder to justice, saying in a statement: “We would like to thank the Grapevine Police Department, FBI and all law enforcement agencies assisting in the investigation for their extraordinary efforts.
"We would also like to thank our friends, family and the friends of our daughter Jackie for all their support in this difficult time.”
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