BETHANY — A drug deal gone bad may lead to the first big break in the case of a woman who was found dismembered in a duffle bag behind a grocery store in
According to a search warrant return filed Nov. 23 in Oklahoma County District Court, Bethany police found a cellphone belonging to an accused drug dealer who they believe is involved in the killing of Carina Saunders, 19.
Jimmy Lee Massey, 33, is charged with trafficking in illegal drugs and a variety of other drug charges. An affidavit for a search warrant to obtain an old cellphone of Massey's indicates Massey has told investigators he has information about Saunders' death.
“It has also been determined that Massey has some involvement in not only the selling of large quantities of drugs, but by his own statements during interview and interrogation has considerable information in regards to the homicide and dismemberment of Carina Saunders,” the affidavit states. “It is believed that there will be information on the phone in the form of (text) messages.”
Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole declined to comment on the progress of the case, saying the investigation is at a “sensitive point.”
Saunders' body was found Oct. 13 in a duffel bag behind the Homeland grocery store at NW 23 and Rockwell Avenue in Bethany. Police said they were stymied early in the investigation because of a strange circle of friends and potential witnesses, many of whom are connected to drugs.
Drug task force helps
The potential break in the case came from a joint drug task force including both Bethany and Oklahoma City police. According to an affidavit filed in the case against Massey, a man involved in a drug deal between Massey and a supplier for eight ounces of methamphetamine went to police after he became worried he was in danger because Massey failed to pay the agreed $7,500 for the drugs.
Police arrested Massey and four others and charged them with five drug offenses, including trafficking. Police did not say what Massey told them that makes them believe he is involved in Saunders' death.
Attempts to reach Saunders' family by telephone Wednesday were unsuccessful. A friend and former neighbor of Saunders said it was clear during her final months that she was having problems with methamphetamine.
Sarah Shamblin, 26, lives in an apartment complex across the street from the field where Saunders' body was found. A broken-
Shamblin said Saunders lived in the apartments with a boyfriend in the months before her death.
The two became friends, Shamblin said. Saunders moved around a lot and was always carrying a bag with her containing clothes and other essentials. She stayed in the apartments off and on for three to five months.
“When I first met her, she looked healthy,” Shamblin said. “Over the course of the months, she started going downhill. She looked pale and frail. She hadn't taken a shower. You could tell she had gotten into drugs.”
On Aug. 1, Shamblin ran into Saunders in the apartments' parking lot. Saunders told her she had been beaten by a boyfriend. Police were called. According to an incident report, no one was arrested in relation to the domestic dispute, but Saunders' boyfriend was jailed on warrants related to a previous drug conviction. He was still in jail when Saunders' body was found.
Saunders continued to stay in the apartments off and on for another two months, Shamblin said.
Driver's license stolen
Shamblin last saw Saunders a few days before she went missing. She invited Saunders into her apartment to chat, but she declined. The next day, Shamblin said her driver's license was missing.
Weeks later, police showed up at Shamblin's daughter's school looking for her. She talked to investigators, who found Shamblin's driver's license on Saunders' body. Shamblin said Saunders probably took her ID so she could use it to buy alcohol.
Shamblin said she was saddened and frightened by the news of Saunders' death. In the past, Saunders had told her she was suicidal, but she was in much better spirits the last time they met.
“The last time I saw her, she seemed happy,” Shamblin said. “She said she was getting her life together. I tried to help her several times. I let her use my phone. I tried to give her some of my clothes. She wore the same clothes all the time. I wondered when she was washing them.”