A 37-year-old man was arrested Saturday in connection to a 2018 Bogata arson/homicide case, authorities confirmed today.
Jonathan Fulton Smith was arrested by the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office Saturday morning around 4:30 a.m., Sheriff Scott Cass said. Smith was charged with capital murder of multiple persons and arson causing bodily injury or death. His bond totaled $1.5 million, according to online records.
Smith was booked into Lamar County Jail before being transferred to Red River County Jail later that day. He remains there as of today.
Smith was arrested in connection to an Aug. 2, 2018, house fire that killed Jessica Walling and her 10-year-old son, Chevy. Autopsy reports released in October 2018 showed Jackie died of smoke inhalation; however, she also sustained severe injuries before the fire began, Jessica’s mother, Jackie Clark, said. Chevy, who was diagnosed with autism, was found in the bathtub with the water running. He was removed from the home, but died shortly after on scene.
Chevy’s 3-year-old sister was staying with Clark that night and is the only surviving member of the family.
The sheriff’s office assisted several other agencies in an intensive search for Smith, including Bogata Police Department and an agent from the state Attorney General’s office, Cass said. A cell phone ping led authorities to a trailer that Smith was renting in Powderly, Bogata Police Chief David Short said. He was arrested without incident.
Clark said she was relieved in a phone call this morning.
“I feel bad for (Smith’s) family, of course; but it’s a big load off our shoulders,” she said. Clark previously said she knew there was a person of interest identified in the case.
The family received the news that Smith had been arrested early Saturday morning, Clark said.
“It was a real team effort, and I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate Lamar County Sheriff’s Office and their assistance in apprehending this man,” Short said.
“I commend and appreciate the efforts of all agencies involved in getting this dangerous fugitive located and in custody, taking him out of our community and placing him behind bars,” Cass said in a press release.