WELEETKA — A gun receipt and shell casings found on the family property of a man accused of killing his girlfriend in July link the man to the unsolved shooting deaths of two Weleetka-area girls in 2008, relatives of two of the victims said Thursday.
Kevin Sweat, 25, is charged in Okfuskee County with murder in the death of his girlfriend, Ashley Taylor, 23, in July. He is in jail in Seminole County.
After Sweat's arrest, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation released a description and serial number for a Glock .40-caliber model 22 handgun they say was used in the killings of Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13, and Skyla Whitaker, 11, in 2008 as they walked on a dirt road near Weleetka, 90 miles east of Oklahoma City.
According to court records, charred remains believed to be Ashley Taylor's were found Aug. 4 on a farm belonging to Sweat's father, Pat.
Susan Murhpy-Milano, spokeswoman for Taylor's family and an author who has written about the case, said shell casings from the missing pistol in the Weleetka case also were found during the search of the Sweat family property.
Shell casings were found at the scene of the girls' shootings in 2008.
Joe Mosher, Paschal-Placker's great-uncle, said Pat Sweat also gave investigators a receipt for the Glock pistol, which is how they got the gun's serial number.
‘Cases appear to be highly connected'
Authorities confirmed Thursday they are investigating links between Sweat and the Weleetka killings, but they would not confirm the details given by the victims' family members.
Maxey Reilly, Okfuskee County district attorney, released a statement Thursday saying he is aware of reports that Sweat is connected to the Weleetka case.
“I can assure you that the OSBI and other law enforcement entities are working around the clock to pursue each and every lead in this case, including any and all leads, including those regarding Mr. Sweat.”
OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said agents are still looking for the gun. Agents think it was sold at a Tulsa gun show in March. They say the person who owns it now was not involved in the killings.
Anyone with information on the gun's whereabouts is asked to call the OSBI. The weapon's serial number is: EKG463US.
“The cases appear to be highly connected,” Murphy-Milano said. “Shell casings that appeared to be from the missing Glock were found on the 88-acre farm where authorities discovered Ashley's remains,” Milano said. “Once those shell casings were found, the OSBI put out a bulletin for the missing gun.”
Families of both victims also said Sweat was an acquaintance of Paschel-Placker's mother, Jennifer.
Mosher said Sweat's grandfather lives near the Paschal-Placker's home and the scene of the shooting four miles northeast of Weleetka. Sweat's father's property is also nearby.
Wayne Woodyard, Kevin Sweat's attorney in the Ashley Taylor case, said he could not comment about whether his client has been questioned in the Weleetka case.
“The concern we have in reference to the Taylor case is the more of that speculation that is done on the Weleetka case, the harder that is going to be to get a fair trial in the Taylor case,” Woodyard said.
Attempts to reach Sweat's father were unsuccessful Thursday.
went missing in July
Ashley Taylor went missing in late July after telling her family she and Kevin Sweat were eloping.
Murphy-Milano said Sweat later told Taylor's family he had been questioned after the Weleetka shootings.
“The OSBI took Kevin's DNA, interviewed and questioned him, and took some of his personal items,” Milano said.
According to an arrest affidavit filed in the Taylor case, Kevin Sweat told investigators he cut her throat July 17. He also said he burned some items on his father's property. Police found human remains in an ash pile, along with pieces of clothing and a pair of prescription glasses that belonged to Taylor.
Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner's office, said an anthropologist is examining the remains and has not positively identified them yet.
Mosher said he expects Sweat will be charged in the Weleetka case within 30 days.
“We're just all thankful that something positive has finally happened,” Mosher said. “We just hope this brings closure to everybody. We still don't understand why.”