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Suspect charged with Capital Murder in death of TWU student

Early Wednesday, Sept. 14, Grapevine Fire Department responded to a fire at Acorn Woods Park, near Lake Grapevine, where they found a partially dismembered and burned body.

Several days later, fingerprints identified the body as TWU Junior Nutrition major Jacqueline “Jackie” Rae Vandagriff, 24, of Frisco.

Lone suspect, Charles Dean Bryant Jr., 30, of Haslet was arrested in the afternoon on Sunday Sept. 18 near his home in Haslet. Currently in Grapevine Police custody, Bryant is being charged with Capital Murder and bail is set at $1 million.

The Arrest Warrant Affidavit, which was released on Tuesday, Sept. 20, stated that security footage from a bar on West Hickory St. in Denton, Shots and Crafts, showed Vandagriff and Bryant leaving together around 11 p.m. on Sept. 13. It is unknown at this time if Vandagriff knew Bryant prior to that night.

While updating the public during a news conference on Monday, Sept. 19, Grapevine Police Department Sgt. Robert Eberling shared details about the investigation. Three cell towers received Vandagriff’s cell phone signal locating it in Denton, Argyle, and then Haslet, which ultimately led police to Bryant’s home on the 14000 block of Sand Hills Dr. The FBI evidence and recovery team, as well as the Texas Rangers, were called in to help with the ongoing investigation. Vandagriff’s cause of death is unknown at this time and the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office official said Vandagriff’s autopsy report would not be completed and released for approximately 60 days.

The affidavit also states that Vandagriff’s body was placed in a blue plastic pool with an accelerant to set the fire. Other evidence listed includes Vandagriff’s purse located in a trashcan within the house.

According to the Denton Record Chronicle, prior to being charged with Vandagriff’s murder, Bryant violated a no-trespass order given by UNT police on Sept. 6, and was arrested on Sept. 7 on a stalking charge. Bryant was arrested and once again posted $5,000 bail on Sept. 9. The stalking victim, known to be Bryant’s ex-girlfriend, filed an Emergency Protective Order against Bryant on Sept. 17, after Vandagriff’s body was found.

Sgt. Eberling said: “Anyone who’s a father, like I am, that has a daughter this is the nightmare scenario you don’t ever want to face.”

In a press release sent out to students on Monday, Sept. 19, President for Student Life Dr. Monica Mendez-Grant said: “The death of a student affects the entire TWU community, and I know that all of us send our deepest sympathy to Jacqueline’s family and friends. 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.”

The university has set up a memorial fund in honor of Jackie to reflect her passion and enthusiasm for her time at TWU. Proceeds will fund an internship through TWU’s Health and Wellbeing Initiative, which will be eligible for Nutrition and Food Sciences majors who demonstrate Jackie’s passion for nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

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