Jasper Police are investigating the stabbing death of woman that is believed to have occurred on Wednesday evening at a local motel.

Jasper Police Chief Gerald Hall said emergency dispatchers received a call shortly before 7:00, from a man who stated that an officer was needed at the Rodeway Inn Motel, near the intersection of Highways 190 and 96.

Hall said an officer arrived at the scene to find a man who was covered in blood standing behind the car with his hands up. Hall said the officer then went to the vehicle, where he found a woman behind the wheel who had apparently been stabbed several times.

The woman, who was pronounced dead at the scene by Jasper County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jimmy E. Miller, was identified as 61-year-old Judy McKinney Arnold, of Jasper.

The man accused of stabbing her numerous times has been identified by a family member as Royce Larkin, 53, a truck driver from Jasper, who is in custody and being questioned by police.

Jasper Police Lieutenant Garrett Foster says that the weapon, a knife, has been recovered.

Police say the investigation has revealed that Arnold and McKinney had been dating for over 21 years. However, family members say something happened and the dispute began earlier on Wednesday when McKinney, who was a teachers aid at Few Elementary School, 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:

Dear Jasper ISD Family,

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.

In order to support our students and staff during this difficult time, we have arranged to have counselors available during the school day to assist students and faculty with the questions and grief which accompany such a difficult situation. Counselors are available not only at Few Primary but at all other campuses as well. Experiencing, witnessing, or even hearing of a traumatic incident such as this may affect a child or adult in a variety of ways; therefore, it is very important that students and teachers be given ample opportunities to ask questions and to talk about their reactions. As part of our Crisis Management plan Jasper ISD will focus on the emotional wellbeing of all students and staff during this difficult time.

Few Primary’s Principal Mrs. Monica Guillory stated, “Above all else our Few family loves and cares for one another and for our students. Ms. Judy Arnold has been a beloved member of this community, Jasper ISD, and the Few family for many years. She was the epitome of professionalism, care, and love. As we pull closer together we remember her smiles as she walked through our halls, the enjoyment in her eyes as she worked with our hundreds of students, the kindness in her soft voice, and the way she jumped in to help in every situation. We will keep loving our students the way that Judy did every day. “

If any assistance is needed during this time please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school so we can help in any way possible. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated by the family, friends, students and staff.

Sincerely,

Dr. Steve Hyden

Jasper ISD