FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — The 19-year-old Oak Hill area native charged in the Easter Sunday murder of 48-year-old Janet Garrett is in custody, according to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department.
Derrick Michael Crouse is in custody. Press release will be issued shortly. Sheriff Mike Fridley.
— Fayette Co Sheriff (@fayettesdwv) April 18, 2017
For now, law enforcement is focused on continuing to develop information about the unknown assailant. They arrested 19-year-old Derrick Michael Crouse, who is charged in the murder of 48-year-old Janet Garrett around noon Tuesday.
Police obtained a warrant for Crouse’s arrest Monday. They searched his last known residence Monday evening, but believe Crouse had already long since left. He was believed to be carrying a hand gun, and police considered him armed and dangerous.
“He’s a 19-year-old individual with limited means,” Fayette County Sheriff Larry Harrah said. “We don’t even believe he has a vehicle. We should, hopefully, be able to bring him in fairly quickly.”
Low-grade surveillance footage appears to show Crouse and a second, still unidentified suspect parking a vehicle on Berry Street in the Oak Hill area around 1:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday. According to Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley, the suspects leave the vehicle for only a few minutes before at least one of them runs back to the vehicle. Harrah said they are getting closer to an identity on the second suspect, but that they aren’t ready to release that information publicly.
“We are still developing that,” he said. “Of course this is all still under investigation, but right now we are not ready to release any information on that second suspect.”
Investigators still do not have a definitive motive in the murder of Janet Garrett, but said two witnesses in the home told police it was a robbery.
“It appears from interviews with other individuals that were in the trailer that this was apparently sort of a robbery type situation, home invasion type situation that unfortunately ended in the tragic death of Ms. Garrett,” Harrah said.
The two witnesses are believed to be Garrett’s boyfriend and a friend of the boyfriend’s.
When asked if the motive may have been drug related, Harrah said it couldn’t be ruled out, but that no drugs were found in Garrett’s home.
“A search of the home didn’t yield any kind of drugs,” he said. “I can’t say that with certainty, no.”
Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Fayette County 911 Center at (304) 574-3590 or Crime Stoppers of West Virginia at (304) 255-7867. Tips can be left anonymously.