Jasper Police Lieutenant Garrett Foster said on Thursday that the arraignment of a stabbing death suspect is expected very soon, and he also said that the preliminary results of the victim’s autopsy will be released Friday morning.
The names of the suspect and victim have not been officially released by police, but KJAS News learned on Thursday that the victim was 61-year-old Judy McKinney Arnold, a veteran educator at Few Primary School, while the suspect is 53-year-old Royce Larkin, a Jasper truck driver.
The death occurred at about 7:00 Wednesday evening at the Rodeway Inn on Highway 190, just west of Highway 96. Jasper Police Chief Gerald Hall said that dispatchers received a 911 call from a person who only said that they need to send police to that location, but wouldn’t give any information.
Hall said when Sergeant Cody Christopher arrived, he found Larkin covered with blood with his hands in the air. Hall said after placing Larkin into custody and into his patrol vehicle, Christopher then found Arnold in the driver seat of a 2019 Chrysler 300 with what appeared to be multiple stab wounds.
Arnold was pronounced dead at the scene by Jasper County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jimmy E. Miller, who ordered an autopsy that was performed on Thursday in the Golden Triangle.
Lieutenant Foster said that the weapon, a knife, was recovered at the scene.
According to family members, Arnold and Larkin had been dating for over 21 years, but a dispute began between the two earlier on Wednesday after Arnold told Larkin that she was breaking off the relationship.
On Thursday, Jasper ISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Steve Hyden published a statement on the school district's website. The statement said “The Jasper ISD family is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of its own. Ms. Judy Arnold lost her life in an incident on Wednesday evening. Ms. Arnold was a long term Paraprofessional at Few Primary where she served the children of JISD for over 27 years. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her loved ones who are left to deal with this unthinkable loss”.
Dr. Hyden went on to say that counselors were being brought in for students and staff as they cope with the sudden loos of the veteran educator.