Crime & Courts

Houston-area traffic stop sheds light on Mecklenburg killings

Emily Ann Isaacs
Emily Ann Isaacs Harris County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office

A Tuesday night traffic stop near Houston is shedding more light on four killings this week in Mecklenburg County.

Early Sunday, Matthews police investigated a shooting in a motel parking lot that left one man dead and another wounded.

About 5:20 p.m. Tuesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police responded to a report of three bodies in a house on Norris Avenue near uptown Charlotte. Police have not said when or how the victims died, but one victim was a model on a TV show hosted by Tyra Banks.

Four hours after those bodies were found, Texas state troopers pulled over a white Toyota sedan that was speeding westbound on Interstate 10 in Baytown, Texas, near Houston, said Sgt. William Kennard with the Texas Highway Patrol.

Troopers ran the car’s license plate and the names of its occupants through a police database, and found that CMPD had flagged both the vehicle and the people in it to be held in connection with a triple homicide in Charlotte, Kennard said.

The pair in the car, Edward Sanchez, 19, and Emily Ann Isaacs, 18, have so far been charged in connection with the Matthews homicide. Sanchez was charged with first-degree murder and Isaacs with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder in that case.

Baytown is about 1,000 miles away and a 15-hour drive from Charlotte.

CMPD and Matthews police have said they are investigating whether their cases are related because Emmanuel Jesus Rangel, 19, was charged with first-degree murder in both cases. He was arrested by CMPD detectives early Wednesday.

The circumstances of Sanchez and Isaacs’ arrest appear to strengthen the link between the two cases because the suspects in the Matthews homicide were detained, and the vehicle they were in was impounded, over a bulletin put out by CMPD.

Police have said that the Charlotte victims knew the suspect and that the case was drug-related. Those victims were Jonathan Cosme Alvarado, 23, Jusmar Isiah Gonzaga-Garcia, 21, and 19-year-old Mirjana Puhar. The Charlotte teen and Serbian native was a contestant last year on “America’s Next Top Model.”

The victim in the Matthews shooting was Rosool Jaleel Harrell, 22, of Charlotte. He was in a car with another man who also was shot. He has not been identified and is in critical but stable condition at an area hospital, Matthews Officer Tim Aycock said.

He said police are still trying to determine why Sanchez and Isaacs were in Texas. No extradition hearing has been set yet for the pair, Aycock added.

CMPD declined to comment on their case Thursday.

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Twitter: @abell