- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2008

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (AP) - Police on Wednesday charged a man with capital murder in the beating death of a popular television anchorwoman but offered neither a motive behind the attack nor details about why they suspected him.

Officers were seeking Curtis Lavelle Vance, 28, who fled his Marianna home Wednesday with a 25-year-old woman and three children under age 5, Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas said. Vance was believed to be armed with a 9mm pistol.

“He knows we’re looking for him,” said Lt. Terry Hastings, spokesman for the police department.

Anne Pressly, 26, died Oct. 25, five days after being severely beaten in her home. The anchorwoman’s mother found her Oct. 20, a half-hour before she was due on KATV’s “Daybreak” program, after she didn’t answer her daily wake-up call.

Thomas said at a late-evening news conference that the capital murder charge against Vance was based on “a very, very solid case due to solid detective work.” He offered no details, however.

Hastings had said previously that DNA and other evidence from the scene gave police a portrait of the suspect, though they did not have a name until this month. One of Pressly’s credit cards was used at a gas station after the beating, but Hastings said security camera footage didn’t provide a good look at the person using it.

Pressly lived alone in the city’s Pulaski Heights section, a mix of mansions and bungalows near a country club. Her mother was visiting from out of town at the time of the attack but not staying at her daughter’s home.

The anchorwoman had been beaten severely in the head and upper torso and never regained consciousness.

In the police station lobby before the news conference, several of Pressly’s KATV colleagues quietly wiped tears from their faces. The station raised $50,000 for a reward fund.

Thomas said Vance frequently visited the Little Rock area, about 90 miles west of Marianna, and has a lot of contacts there. Police said Vance was thought to be driving a black 1998 Oldsmobile Aurora with 22-inch rims and temporary license plates.

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