Murderer caught near state line

Published 12:05 am Friday, August 21, 2009

Okaloosa County, Fla., Sheriff’s Deputies captured a murder suspect Thursday afternoon just outside Laurel Hill, Fla., and less than 1.5 miles south of the Alabama state line.

Mike Gurspan, public information officer for the Walton County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department, said that around 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies stopped Jeffrey Allen Yates, who was being sought in the death of 60-year-old Elizabeth Andrews of the Gaskin, Fla., community.

Yates was reportedly driving the victim’s 1996 F-350, blue-colored Ford dually pick-up truck. The stop took place without violence and Yates is now in custody.

Gurspan said that Hayward Thomas, Paxton mayor and retired Walton County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant, spotted the vehicle on Florida State Hwy. 85 and Okaloosa County Road 393. He then placed a 911 call to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. Several Okaloosa investigators were returning from school out of state and began to follow Thomas’ vehicle. Additional deputies in the area assisted in the arrest of Yates.

Yates’ victim was found by a caregiver inside her Florida State Highway 83 North home on Monday morning.

The 41-year-old suspect will be booked into the Okaloosa County Jail in Crestview. He is charged with murder and other felonies.