Preliminary reports show Castlewoods murder victim died from strangulation; Suspect last seen in Oklahoma


RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) — Law enforcement agencies are still searching for a man who is possibly linked to three different crimes, including two murders.

Authorities are looking for Alex Deaton. We’re told he could be armed and is extremely dangerous.

The Rankin County Sheriff’s Department held a news conference Monday morning to give an update about the two crimes they are investigating. Deaton is also a person of interest for a homicide in Neshoba County.

The newest information is that District Attorney Michael Guest said that the preliminary reports show that the suspect’s girlfriend, Heather Robinson, died from strangulation. They are still waiting to hear back from the medical examiner’s office for any additional findings.

Authorities also said they know Deaton contacted his mother Saturday morning through a text message. They did not reveal what the message said because of the pending investigation.

They said Deaton was last spotted near Tulsa, Oklahoma over the weekend. They believe he is in Robinson’s SUV, which is a white 2012 GMC Acadia with the license plate F396 NF.

Robinson was found dead inside an apartment at the Vineyard at Castlewoods Friday afternoon. Earlier that morning, a jogger was shot in the Castlewoods neighborhood. Police were looking for a white SUV in connection with that crime.

Authorities said Deaton is a suspect in both cases.

In Neshoba County, Sheriff Tommy Waddell said Deaton is a person of interest in the murder of 69-year-old Brenda Strickland Pinter. She was found dead Thursday night inside of Dixon Baptist Church by her husband. She had suffered from a gunshot wound.

Brenda Pinter Courtesy: Pinter Family
Brenda Pinter
Courtesy: Pinter Family

Pinter was there to clean the church. Sheriff Waddell says shortly after Pinter arrived at the church, a white SUV was spotted traveling on Highway 21 South in Dixon, and coming from the direction of Philadelphia. Investigators know the SUV entered into the church parking lot and remained there for several minutes. When it left Dixon Baptist Church, it traveled back south on Highway 21 going towards Forest.

At this time, Deaton is charged with aggravated assault for shooting the jogger, and first-degree murder for the death of his girlfriend. D.A. Guest said the murder charge could be upgraded to capital murder. He could also face a charge for taking Robinson’s vehicle.

Robinson worked at Merit Health River Oaks. Merit Health officials released this statement about her death:

We are devastated by Heather’s death and offer her family our sincere condolences. She was a valued member of our emergency department staff for a number of years and will be greatly missed.

Anyone who sees Deaton should contact authorities immediately. Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said Deaton could also be a possible threat to law enforcement.

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