Three weeks to the day from the June 8 murder of Jonathan Young in Pacific Park, suspect Tilton Joshua Isaiah Mapps, 20, of Greenville was apprehended in Fort Smith, Ark.
Shortly after the murder, Sulphur Springs Police Det. David Gilmore contacted Texas Ranger John Vance who, in turn, sought assistance from the U.S. Marshal's Service in locating the murder suspect.
“They were very instrumental, the Marshal's Service out of Sherman, in Mapps being arrested in Fort Smith, Ark.,” Gilmore said. “It was like we had trained together and we had never met. It just came together.”
Gilmore gave credit to federal officers in locating the wanted man.
“It wasn't a lead that led us to him, it was the Marshal's Service doing their diligence on surveillance,” he said. “They called Ranger Vance and me yesterday morning and said, ‘We think we know where he might be here in Fort Smith.’”
Both Vance and Gilmore immediately left for Fort Smith, where they met briefly with U.S. Marshals there as well as Fort Smith detectives. They orchestrated a “gauntlet” around the small apartment complex the suspect was thought to be in and made the arrest about 1:45 p.m.
“[Mapps] had some help,” Gilmore said. “They actually had a decoy car pull up into the complex after they spotted what they figured were police and had a person go out and get into a car and take off. They probably wanted all of us to follow them — a few did and found out he was not in that car.
“Then a second car pulls up, [Mapps] exits the apartment, gets in the back seat, lays down and actually pulls a pink swimming floatie on top of him to hide,” Gilmore continued. “He got about a half block down the road and the Marshal's Service and detectives with Fort Smith police, Ranger Vance and I converged. Through tattoos we were able to identify him and, of course, he admitted as to who he was.”
Gilmore said Mapps did not offer resistance when he was apprehended.
Mapps' girlfriend, Tressa Makin, who was named in warrants for hindering apprehension, was also taken into custody and both were taken to the Fort Smith jail.
“We interview Mapps and he confessed to the shooting of Jonathan Young in Pacific Park back on June 8,” the detective said. “We also interviewed Tressa Makin and she provided some additional information.”
Although Mapps confessed to the murder and is in custody, Gilmore said the murder investigation is still underway.
“The nuisance of him still being out on the street was, not only were we trying to work the homicide — and there were several agencies helping us do that — we had the added burden of he's still on the street,” the detective explained. “A lot of times on a homicide, we get people in custody fairly quickly. He was gone from Sulphur Springs, we think, 10 minutes after the murder.”
Mapps, Gilmore suspects, may have been in Fort Smith for some time.
“Yesterday was three weeks, to the day, from the homicide and that's a significant amount of time to be out on the run,” he said. “He had help from people. We've made one arrest and we will be looking at some other people to get additional warrants on. We are also looking at possibly talking with the U.S. Attorney in Arkansas about additional charges on Mapps for crossing state lines to avoid prosecution.”
Both Mapps and Makins are being held in Arkansas pending possible extradition proceedings before being returned to Hopkins County.