The body of 24-year-old college student Jacqueline Vandagriff was found burned and dismembered in a park near Lake Grapevine, Texas, last week. Local police say Charles Dean Bryant is responsible for her death and have charged the 30-year-old with capital murder.
A badly burned body was found early Wednesday morning when firefighters extinguished a blaze at Acorn Woods Park. The body was taken to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, who later identified the remains as Jacqueline “Jackie” Vandagriff. An investigation into her death led detectives to Charles Bryant after video footage was discovered showing the young woman leaving a local bar with him.
According to Grapevine police Sergeant Robert Eberling, Vandagriff was a nutrition major at Texas Woman’s University in Denton.
“It’s something to remind all of us who have children: As often as you can, tell them that you love them,” said Eberling.
Security footage obtained by police show Vandagriff and Bryant near Shots and Crafts, a bar in Denton’s Fry Street area, around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, September 13. It is still unclear if the two knew each other prior or if they met for the first time that night. Investigators believe they may have initially met through social media and later in-person at the bar.
Police reviewed Vandagriff’s Twitter account and found a series of tweets indicating she had been talking to a man on the online dating app Tinder. She suspected the man was using a fake account to contact her, so she decided to log off the app and go out instead.
The day after Vandagriff’s badly burned body was found in the woods, a mysterious tweet showed up on Vandagriff’s account.
Police have not yet been able to explain the tweet, but they are investigating it.
Using cellphone tower data, investigators traced Vandagriff’s phone to an area near Bryant’s home in Haslet. Police began searching door-to-door and ultimately arrested Bryant Sunday afternoon.
“We would like to thank the Grapevine Police Department, FBI and all law enforcement agencies assisting in the investigation for their extraordinary efforts,” said Jackie’s uncle, Randy Vandagriff. “We would also like to thank our friends, family and the friends of our daughter Jackie for all their support in this difficult time.”
In addition to her studies at TWU, Jackie Vandagriff also worked as a server at the bar and grill restaurant, Sambuca360. She was also a licensed esthetician.
“Jacqueline exemplified the spirit of learning and service that is the hallmark of our TWU community,” TWU Vice President for Student Life Monica Mendez-Grant wrote in an email to students Monday. “She lived her life with a desire to serve others through her interest in nutrition.”
Charles Bryant worked at Fort Worth’s largest gay club, the Urban Cowboy Saloon. According to a Facebook post from the club, Bryant was expected to work a shift Sunday night, but he failed to come in.
“Monday afternoon we learned why he didn’t show,” the post said. “We are grieving with our community and offer our deepest condolences for the Vandagriff family and friends. We are cooperative with authorities and will fully support law enforcement in their investigation.”
Bryant also worked at ProCore Fitness, but he was recently fired for “attendance issues.”
“I’ve never seen him angry at all,” said the manager of the fitness center. “He was a great guy. We loved him here.”
Earlier this month, Charles Dean Bryant was arrested by police for criminal trespassing and stalking. He posted bond and was released from jail on September 9, just days before meeting the college student at the bar. He is currently being held on charges related to the murder of Jacqueline Vandagriff. His bond is set at $1 million.
[Featured Image by Grapevine Police Department/ AP Images]