BETHANY — A witness told investigators she was forced to watch as Carina Saunders was tortured and killed and was told the same thing would happen to her if she did not cooperate with a prostitution ring.
Jimmy Lee Massey, 33, already in the Oklahoma County jail on drug complaints, is now also being held on a murder complaint in the case of Saunders, 19, whose dismembered body was found Oct. 13 in a duffle bag behind the Homeland grocery store at NW 23 and Rockwell.
According to an arrest affidavit, the witness was forced into a car on the evening of Oct. 9 and taken blindfolded to a room where she was forced to watch as Saunders was tortured and killed. The woman, who was not identified in court documents, said she was told that would happen to her if she and her friends did not help the killers with their human trafficking ring.
Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole said Tuesday the case involves a drug trafficking ring and a prostitution ring that were linked.
“(Saunders) had relationships among this loosely associated group of people, and we believe she was a target of opportunity,” Cole said. “We don't believe the witness and Carina knew each other, however we believe Carina's murderer was sending a message that she wasn't cooperating with this organization in a way she was expected to.”
Cole said he hopes this is the first of several arrests in the case.
“There is a lot of work left,” he said. “Additionally, we are seeking a person of interest. We believe he has critical information that will help us in our investigation.”
Cole identified the person of interest as Francisco Gomez, 31. Gomez is also wanted on numerous drug charges.
Massey, who was arrested Nov. 4 on drug complaints, told police he was the one who forced the witness into the car and made her watch Saunders' torture and killing, the affidavit states. Massey identified Saunders from a photo.
Police said Massey gave them graphic details about Saunders' torture and the dismemberment of her body that only someone present would have known. He also identified others in the room during her killing.
Court officials said Massey is being held without bond.
“There are several more people involved in this homicide,” Cole said. “We want everyone to answer for their involvement no matter how small their role was.”
Saunders' friend, Melissa Wagner, 19, said Massey's arrest gives her some piece of mind for her friend. She said she didn't know Massey or Gomez or their connection with Saunders.
Wagner said other friends have had similar reactions to the arrest, adding that it's nice to know the case is being solved.
“I was afraid it would be one of those things we would never know what happened,” she said. “We're all just grateful that the Bethany police department has solved it.