Mysterious death investigated

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This Alabama Street home in Florala a potential crime scene in a two-state investigation of a mysterious death.

Police in two states are investigating how a 28-year-old Florala woman ended up dead, propped up in a lawn chair in a Crestview, Fla., driveway Sunday evening.

Florala Police Chief Sonny Bedsole said Kenneth Wayne Harrison, 43, of Florala, is being detained as “a person of interest” in the death of Jacqueline “Jackie” Roughton Watson while local police and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office investigate the case.

“This is what we know,” Bedsole said Monday. “Sunday evening, the department was notified by the Okaloosa County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office to be on the lookout for Mr. Harrison, as he was a person of interest in a suspicious death investigation.

“Witnesses in Florida indicated that Harrison had left a woman, identified as Watson, at a Crestview, Fla., yard in a chair around 6 p.m. that evening,” Bedsole said. “Florala officers then went to Harrison’s residence on Alabama Street and took him into custody without incident, shortly after 7 p.m.”

Bedsole said Harrison was interviewed by local and Florida authorities and admitted to driving Watson across the state line, but maintained Watson was alive when he left. Bedsole was unsure of the exact relationship between Harrison and Watson. He said the two had lived together briefly in the past.

According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, there were no visible signs of trauma on Watson’s body and it is believed Watson was transported to the scene – a family member’s residence – after her death.

Bedsole said more will be known after Watson’s autopsy, which was scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Harrison is currently being held in the Covington County Jail without bond on a violation of probation warrant and is under an investigative hold; however, he also faces charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance after authorities found narcotics inside his home.

Bedsole said Harrison could face additional charges in Alabama and Florida, pending the results of Watson’s autopsy.

The Star-News will update this story online and in print as more information becomes available.