Murder suspect captured in California

Published 6:34 pm Monday, October 29, 2012

The man accused of murdering a 29-year-old Troy woman is now in custody.

Suroy Manquel Wheeler was arrested in Oxnard, Calif. about 5 p.m. Monday after a tip came in to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office.

Suroy Wheeler

Suroy Wheeler

“Sheriff Thomas contacted us and we contacted the Norwalk Police Department and the Oxnard Police Department,” said Troy Police Sgt. Benny Scarbrough.

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The tipster reported that Wheeler was in Norwalk, Calif. and planned to board a bus heading for Oxnard. Local police were on the lookout and arrested Wheeler after he got off the bus.

Earlier Monday, Scarbrough said finding Wheeler and arresting him was the Troy Police Department’s number one priority. Investigators already believed Wheeler had fled the area.

Troy Police received a call just after 3 p.m. Saturday alerting them to a body found in an apartment at Troy Villa Apartments. When police arrived, they found Melissa Shipman. She’d died from a gunshot wound.

“[They were] associates. I can’t put their relationship at any other status than that right now,” Scarbrough said. “They were definitely associates. They knew one another. How well, I do not know.”

An arrest warrant was signed on Saturday for Wheeler, 33, and his bond was set at $100,000.

Scarbrough said he did not know Shipman, but sympathized with her and her family.

“Any person who had to go through what she had to go through in the last moments of her life I think is horrific in itself. No one deserves that,” Scarbrough said. “Justice has to prevail in this case. That is the side I am standing on. On the side of justice.”

Scarbrough said Shipman’s family is holding up “as well as they can be” and he hopes capturing Wheeler will help provide some sort of closure to Shipman’s family.

Scarbrough said Wheeler has had brushes with the law in the past, but none of them have involved any violence. Court records indicate Wheeler has no prior convictions.

The Pike County District Attorney and the Pike County Circuit Clerk’s Office are assisting in this investigation.