All suspects are presumed innocent until determined guilty in court.
Hunter Byers, 19, of Michael Street in Hot Springs has been arrested and charged for last night’s home invasion and beating of 75 year old Silas Turner of Hot Springs.
CLICK HERE to see the press release detailing the crimes.
A quick scan of the suspect’s Facebook Page (the suspect has at least 3 Facebook Pages) suggests that the Toyota Avalon the suspect used to allegedly commit the crime was posted for sale on “The Garland County Swap Shop” Facebook Group Page roughly 9 hours prior to the Ranch Street Home Invasion perpetrated last night.
Was the “car for sale” post a blind attempt to lure anyone that answered the offer into a potentially deadly, criminal attempt? Did the Ranch Street victim answer the post and that’s how he wound up at the hospital in critical condition at the intensive care unit? Or, did the suspect actually try to sell the car completely unrelated to any future event or criminal plan?
Only the person that committed the crime knows for sure. Hot Springs Police Detectives are investigating. They will figure it out.
I find it interesting that this very vehicle was posted for sale only hours prior to the attack. My entire reason for writing this little ‘AR911NEWS Extra’ is to bring some attention to just how close you can find yourself to being in big trouble on social media. Criminals use Facebook, Snapchat and other social media platforms as a tool to reel in their victims. Was that the case in this Ranch Street situation? I doubt it because the PRESS RELEASE says that the suspect worked for the victim and was fired a couple of days before the attack.
I have covered internet crime stories in Hot Springs, recently, where stolen property was listed for sale. And, items have been legitimately sold via social media. The seller and buyer meet up wherever and everything is cool. Until later, when the seller realizes that the goods were paid for with counterfeit cash. I had 1 case where a man posted that he was lonely, wanted some company…wanted to get cozy with someone or whatever, at his home just off of Higdon Ferry Road. A guy answered the post. They met at the house, visited or whatever. And, when the new friend departed the residence a couple of hours later, the victim discovered that his wallet had been stolen. About an hour after that, the credit cards in the wallet were being used around town. It’s all happening right here in Hot Springs.
Now, about this suspect car. This vehicle was described to me this afternoon by witnesses on Ranch Street as being “a small, silver, 4 door, beat up car”. Around 4PM, I developed information that put Hot Springs Police Detectives and the Crime Scene Unit at a residence in the 100 Block of Michael Street just off of Woodlawn Street. So, I bounced on over to that location to say “hi”.
I arrived to find all the usual suspects doing their thing. HSPD Sergeant Freeman was in charge. It was lockdown city and very serious. He had his people looking, photographing and gathering things that may be related to the alleged crimes that were committed last night on Ranch Street.
The one item that jumped out at me, especially after just getting the description of the suspect vehicle from witnesses on Ranch Street, was the tiny corner of what I believed to be the suspect vehicle showing from behind a sloppy tarp covering in an adjacent outbuilding on the property being searched.
Detectives slowly made their way to the car I was watching, removed the tarp covering and revealed the rear of the suspect vehicle. The vehicle the detectives just uncovered had the exact same unique markings on the rear driver side than that of the Toyota Avalon that the victim posted for sale online yesterday.
And that’s it. The car used last night to facilitate the alleged crimes, the car posted for sale on Facebook and the car they seized with the search warrant are all the same Toyota Avalon.
This allegedly violent suspect was trying to sell stuff on Facebook. He’s young. 19. He looks 12. A criminal or violent person can look like anybody. Absolutely check out the Facebook Page of any stranger you plan to meet up with following contact on social media.
The sale of the car has been put on hold for now.
Be careful on social media. You never know what facebookers are up to.