Charles Dean Bryant, a 30-year-old man from Haslet, Texas, is charged with the murder of a 24-year-old Texas Woman’s University student after authorities found her body on fire and dismembered in a local park Sept. 14.
Bryant is facing capital murder charges and is being held on a $1 million bond. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Police say Bryant met Jacqueline “Jackie” Vandagriff at a bar in Denton, where the two left together around 11 p.m. Sept. 13. The following day, Grapevine firefighters responded to a call in Acorn Woods Park, where they extinguished a fire and discovered a body. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office recovered the body and said it was Vandagriff.
Here is what you need to know about Bryant:
1. Police Say Bryant Killed, Burned & Dismembered a 24-Year-Old Nutrition Student After They Left a Bar Together
Bryant, 30, was charged with capital murder after being arrested at his Haslet, Texas, house Sunday.
Authorities say Bryant was seen meeting Vandagriff at the Fry Street Public House in Denton last week. The duo went to Shots and Crafts, and left the bar around 11 p.m. on Sept. 13, according to NBC 5, which was the night before Grapevine firefighters discovered Vandagriff’s body.
Bryant initially denied leaving the bar with the victim, according to the arrest warrant.
“We have video of them at a bar together,” Grapevine Police Sgt. Robert Eberling said during a Monday afternoon press conference. “And we were able to talk to employees of that bar and they gave us a name of a suspect, and we just followed the trail from there.”
According to the arrest warrant, Vandagriff’s purse was found in Bryant’s trash during the weekend search of his house.
2. Bryant’s Previous Girlfriend has a Protective Order Against Him. She Claimed He Was Stalking & Harassing Her
Bryant had been released from jail days before the attack, posting bond for charges of stalking his previous girlfriend, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Authorities note in their arrest warrant that Bryant’s ex has an outstanding protective order against him. He was released from jail on Sept. 9 — a few days before meeting Vandagriff and leaving the bar with her.
A hearing on the current protective order is scheduled for later this month, the Morning News reports.
WFAA reports that Bryant has past run-ins with the law, including an assault charge when he lived in Washington.
3. A Kiddie Pool, a 4 a.m. Shovel Purchase at Walmart & a Hole in the Ground Point to Bryant
A few facts point to Bryant as the sole actor in a tragedy that police called “the worst case scenario” for parents of daughters.
The arrest warrant details that Vandagriff’s body was found in the woods at a park, in a blue plastic kiddie pool with “accelerant” — or a fuel of some type.
Part of Bryant’s ex-girlfriend’s complaint against him mentioned a blue plastic pool in his backyard. When police searched Bryant’s property, they found one in the backyard similar to the one found in the woods. Then, Bryant’s roommate told police there had been two kiddie pools in their backyard — now there was only one — and police observed a dead circular patch of grass, similar to where a pool could have sat.
Bryant was caught on surveillance video purchasing a shovel from a local Walmart at 4:41 a.m. There is evidence that someone tried digging a hole in the backyard, police said.
4. Vandagriff Was a Nutrition Student at Texas Woman’s University & Mentioned on Social Media Heading to a Bar
Vandagriff was a student at Texas Woman’s University, the nation’s largest university primarily for women, based in Denton, Dallas and Houston. Vandagriff was studying nutrition, according to the university.
The university’s vice president for student life, Monica Mendez-Grant, released a statement Monday saying Vandagriff’s death affects “the entire TWU community, and I know that all of us send our deepest sympathy to Jacqueline’s family and friends.
“Jacqueline exemplified the spirit of learning and service that is the hallmark of our TWU community. She lived her life with a desire to serve others through her interest in nutrition,” Mendez-Grant said, adding later: “A loss of this magnitude reminds us how special and fleeting life can be. May her loss also remind our community how important it is to reach out to one another to offer strength and support and to seek help when needed.”
The university is offering counseling to students.
Authorities say they are looking into the possibility of someone tweeting from Vandagriff’s account the day after they found her body. In a tweet at 11:22 p.m. on Sept. 15 — the day after Vandagriff was found — a tweet reads “Never knew I could feel like this.”
Police say they are looking into the tweets.
5. Bryant Is Facing Capital Murder, Punishable By Death, & Is Being Held on a $1 Million Bond
The former employee of Fort Worth’s largest gay dance club, the Urban Cowboy, is facing capital murder over the “disturbing news.”
“Any time they feel that there’s another felony that was being committed and that she was murdered, that warrants a capital murder charge,” Sgt. Robert Eberling told the media.
Although Vandagriff’s body was found burned and partially dismembered, the official cause of death hasn’t been determined, according to the Star-Telegram. The manner of death however, according to police, was homicide.