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Police Catch Murder Suspect by Texting from Victim's Phone

The Boston Herald via YellowBrix

April 16, 2010

MIRAMAR, Fla. — Unaware of the grisly fate that had befallen Lisa Spence, police investigating her disappearance had her cell phone number assigned to a new phone and sent a text message to their main suspect.

“Just wait til I got better,” the message read.

It worked. Minutes after they sent the message, police saw Paul Edwards, 44, get into his mother’s car and drive to several South Florida locations, one of which would later lead police to Spence’s decapitated body.

Edwards was arrested Wednesday on one count of first-degree murder. On Thursday he was ordered held without bail. Police accuse him of stabbing Spence, his girlfriend, more than 33 times, cutting off her head and stuffing her body into a barrel, which was found two months later in northern Miami-Dade County.

The head remains missing.

The investigation was outlined in an arrest warrant the Sun Sentinel obtained on Thursday.

Spence, 35, disappeared Oct. 7, and was last seen at the beauty supply shop where she worked. After her disappearance, according to the warrant, Edwards sent several text messages from her phone to convince her friends and family she had suddenly left town and gotten a new job.

No one believed it. It was not Spence’s habit to send text messages, friends and family told police. And there was no way she would let her daughter’s 18th birthday go by on Oct. 14 without calling her in Trinidad and Tobago.

Spence’s friends told police she was planning to move out of the Miramar apartment she shared with Edwards, a short distance from her job. She didn’t want to gather her belongings while he was home, and he had been calling in sick all week, according to the warrant.

Spence was a native of Trinidad and Tobago who moved to South Florida about four years ago to join a boyfriend from her Caribbean homeland, family members told police.

She worked as a cashier at the beauty supply shop and a convenience store.

The arrest warrant contains 10 text messages sent from Spence’s cell phone to her brother after her disappearance.

“I am sad because I will miss Paul,” one message said. “With all that happened he was still good to me in the end.”

The messages indicated Spence was in the Jacksonville area — “i don’t really know d place,” one said — but records showed her cell phone never left South Florida, according to the warrant. Edwards’ cell phone was always close to her phone, police said.

Police decided to prod Edwards on Nov. 5 by having Spence’s cell phone number assigned to a new phone and using it to send a text message to him.

Edwards was apparently unaware that police followed him to several locations, including northern Miami-Dade County, the warrant states.

On Dec. 16, police returned to an address in Miami Gardens and searched a vacant field. Two police dogs that specialize in detecting human remains led police to a sealed, 55-gallon barrel.

The barrel was taken to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office, where it was opened. Spence’s remains were inside.

Blood matching the victim was also found in the apartment Edwards and Spence shared and in the back of a rented Toyota Highlander that Edwards admitted to driving around the time of Spence’s disappearance, the arrest warrant said.

One of Spence’s friends told police he had seen a similar-looking barrel in the apartment Edwards and Spence shared. Spence would occasionally use the barrel to ship items to Trinidad, the friend said.


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  • Evgeni_nabokov_max50

    skascooter007

    over 4 years ago

    2010 Comments

    This sucks

  • 101_2771_max50

    txsheepdog

    over 4 years ago

    272 Comments

    I am sorry for the victim and her family ... great police work and what a moron that turd was ...

  • N1023300020_30025442_7610_max50

    KAICHARESE

    over 4 years ago

    2762 Comments

    Glad he was caught

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    usmcmike

    over 4 years ago

    6 Comments

    These guys are good.

  • Image_max50

    Book_Em_Mandie

    over 4 years ago

    6746 Comments

    What kind of MORON thinks that the g/f he knows he stabbed 33 times and dismembered was texting him? This guy is a few fries short of a happy meal obviously. Not only is she texting him but she got her a new cell phone to do it with because he obviously had hers. Complete and total idiot, aka JOB SECURITY!
    My heart goes out to the family of this woman. What a horrible way to go. We make light of this story because were in shock due to this guys total stupidity but, she was someone's daughter, mother, sister, aunt and grandchild. Too sad.

  • Image_max50

    usa_24

    over 4 years ago

    5022 Comments

    Great job and great using technology.

  • Dressed_up__2__max50

    luke3302

    over 4 years ago

    928 Comments

    Great work.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    over 4 years ago

    11196 Comments

    Great out-of-the-box thinking !!! Glad this POS is finally behind bars !!!

  • Joefriday_max50

    alexy

    over 4 years ago

    3970 Comments

    Good job PD.

  • Thinker_max50

    darsavmo

    over 4 years ago

    11356 Comments

    Kudos to Miramar PD for thinking Out-Of-The-Box...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    Great police work!!! Way to use technology against the suspect.

  • Pot_luck_at_work_max50

    Omarra67

    over 4 years ago

    2284 Comments

    Good job!

  • 17040_1108392089909_1830034959_215190_5688059_n_max50

    cleanbean65

    over 4 years ago

    522 Comments

    I just cant see how anyone could do something like that.Thank god i don't date anymore. My cats keep me company,that's all I need

  • Hpnx0377_max50

    1GUNSLINGER

    over 4 years ago

    268 Comments

    Whaaaat? Technology with the phones. It can make or break you.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    Fire_PoliceMissUPop

    over 4 years ago

    28 Comments

    WOW CRAZY WORLD MAKES ME NOT WANT TO DATE AGAIN!!

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