JaRay Wilson, 16, disappeared from her hometown of Weatherford, Oklahoma, on October 15, 2012.
Yesterday, police arrested 19-year-old Tucker McGee in connection with her suspected murder.
Here’s what we know:
1. Yesterday Police Found What They Believe to Be JaRay’s Skeleton
According to Fox 25 Oklahoma City, just hours before McGee was taken into custody, police discovered skeletal remains that they suspect belonged to JaRay Wilson. The remains were found in a remote area, miles north of the Weatherford airport, and were discovered after authorities received a tip that “something connected to JaRay’s case could be found in the rural area.”
According to The Oklahoman
, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs spokesman Mark Woodward, one of his bureau’s agents first discovered the remains when he spotted a skull laying on the ground. The skull showed signs of having been pierced by a bullet.
Police are waiting on the medical examiner’s office to confirm the identity of the remains.
2. Tucker McGee & JaRay Were Friends on Facebook
While the Oklahoma OBNDD has not disclosed the source of the crucial tip, they have said that the tip, combined with interviews, led them to believe Tucker McGee was responsible for Wilson’s death. However, Woodward told The Oklahoman that he would not rule out further arrests related to the case. Tucker Ryan McGee is currently in the custody of the Custer County jail.
Tucker pleaded guilty to minor drug charges this past March, receiving unsupervised probation. He has no prior history of violent crimes.
Tucker and JaRay were friends on Facebook. On Tucker’s Facebook Timeline, he filled out a questionnaire on the Showtime series Dexter, which tells the story of a serial killer who murders in the name of justice. Dexter has millions of loyal viewers, and its presence on McGee’s Facebook is likely insignificant, but is nonetheless a bit disconcerting as the only publicly available post on the teen’s timeline:
3. Police Previously Suspected JaRay’s Disappearance Was Related to Human Trafficking
The Wilson case first grabbed national attention when local police came to suspect 16-year-old JaRay may have been abducted and sold into sex slavery. Gilberto Paz, 37, was one of the first persons of interest taken into custody.
According to the Oklahoman, Paz had been arrested several times since 2003, including two weapons charges. Custer County Sheriff Bruce Peoples said that Paz’s name “kept coming up” during interviews with Wilson’s friends and acquaintances. Paz had been suspected of involvement with the drug trade, and human trafficking. He was later cleared of wrongdoing in the Wilson case, but charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 22-year-old Jonathan Patton in Cleveland County.
Wilson Family friend Brian Gayer told Fox 25, even if JaRay was not in truth the victim of human trafficking, one meager consolation of her tragedy is that it brought greater awareness to the issue:
“Human trafficking is labeled with JaRay. She has made a dent in that program they have stopped so much human trafficking because of JaRay’s name.”
4. The Community Is in Shock
Jaray’s friend Colton Kardokus told News 9 of Oklahoma:
“It was just hard knowing [JaRay] was from Weatherford and that something like this could happen in our community.”
Tucker McGee’s neighbor Dan Kurtenbach said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with [both families]. We’re shocked and trying to deal with this. It’s really tough.”
Below is a News 9 report, featuring a brief interview with the mother of Tucker McGee:
5. Prior to JaRay, There’d Been Only 1 Murder in Weatherford This Century
Weatherford, Oklahoma, is a town of just over 10,000 people. The median hoursehold income in the area is around $26,908. According to citydata.com, from the year 2000-2011, there was only one reported murder in Weatherford.