Details of Murder Suspect Tommy Caughman's Arrest Released

Tommy Caughman, the man suspected of killing a Bishop librarian almost a month ago, did not stick around town after the crime.

A press conference was held at the Nueces County Sheriff's Office Thursday detailing the events that led up to Caughman's arrest. Sheriff Jim Kaelin said Caughman had fled to Cheyenne, Wyo., within 24 hours of the murder, and had apparently pawned four weapons he had taken with him.

Caughman was arrested Wednesday afternoon at a motel in Cheyenne.

It was Jan. 15 when Bishop police officers found the body 24-year old Elizabeth Caughman, wife of former Precinct 3 Constable Jack Caughman, inside of her home. Her brother-in-law, Tommy, quickly became the lead suspect.

After the murder, it was not clear just where Caughman had fled to. Bishop Police Chief Larry Lawrence said the community was taking the loss of the beloved high school librarian hard, and many were scared that he was still in the area.

"I have to be honest with you, at one point I did too," Lawrence said. "We had helicopters flying over the brush lines at the King Ranch and Celanese property trying to locate him."

However, at Thursday's press conference, Sheriff Kaelin said that new information acquired on Tuesday showed that Caughman had immediately fled to Wyoming. That new information came in the form of some national database search results.

"Every day I would check it," Lawrence said. "Every day I went to work, I would punch his name in there and wouldn't come up with anything. Zero hits at all."

However, the big break in the case came Tuesday when Chief Lawrence routinely search Caughman's name in the database, prompting the computer to freeze for a bit before results appeared on screen -- results showing multiple transactions made by Caughman, as well as his location.

"That one keystroke found him," Lawrence said. "It wasn't a guarantee that he was still there. We had no idea if he was still in that location or not. But it was the best lead we'd had in a long time."

The information was immediately passed along to Bishop Police Lt. Robert Garza, who has been leading the investigation into Elizabeth Caughman's murder. He, in turn, alerted U.S. Marshals and the FBI, who then contacted the Cheyenne Police Department.

Authorities in Cheyenne began to stake out the motel that Caughman was staying in, and at about 2:45 p.m. central time, the suspect exited his room and went to the front lobby, where police converged on him and he was arrested without incident.

"There was more cooperation in working together on this case than on any case that I have ever been involved in 40 years of law enforcement," Sheriff Kaelin said.

At this point, a motive for killing Elizabeth Caughman remains unknown, and Cheyenne police are still conducting investigations at the motel Caughman was staying in. Meanwhile, Caughman will be extradited and tried in Nueces County. His bond was set at more than $1 million.

As for the Bishop community, Chief Lawrence said the community is relieved.

"Now that he is in custody, everybody feels so much better, and safer. They're sleeping well," Lawrence said. "I know Jack slept good knowing that justice will be served for Elizabeth."

Kiii News Reporter Mike DaSilva spoke to Jack Caughman on Thursday. Click here to find out what he had to say.


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