Search for Petersburg abduction suspect continues after girlfriend found dead

Posted at 11:15 PM, Jan 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-19 03:31:12-05

PETERSBURG, Va. – Police have launched a death investigation after the girlfriend of Petersburg abduction suspect, Kristopher T. Jones, was found dead inside her home Wednesday night.

Police confirm Janice Celeste Lugo, 52, was found dead inside her home located at 103A S Jefferson St. A family member who saw Jones linked to an abduction and carjacking called police and asked them to do a welfare check at the home, where they found her dead around 9:30 p.m.

Kristopher Jones is wanted as a person of interest in the disappearance of 76-year-old Minnie Woodard and the carjacking of her husband, Mr. Woodard, in Petersburg Wednesday morning.

Lugo's home is located about a block away from where the abduction and carjacking took place in the 200 block of Jefferson Street.

Kristopher T. Jones

Kristopher T. Jones

Through his tears, Andrew Clement tried to remain positive about the safe return of his mother-in-law, Minnie Woodard.

“I have faith to believe that God will take care of her and bring her home safely,” he said.

Woodard and her husband are both pastors at the Mt. Sinai Christian Center.

Police said Minnie Woodard, who lives at 224 Jefferson Street, was last seen at 9:30 a.m. and is likely in serious need of medical attention.

“She has done a tremendous job of being a pillar in this community and for someone to drag her out of her own home, leaving blood trails in the house and car in broad daylight and no one sees anything? I don’t understand,” said Clement.

This all started when police were called to the Bank of America in the 1900 block of S. Crater Road.

Minnie Woodard's husband said a man forced him into the couple's vehicle, a black four-door 2008 BMW 7 sedan with Virginia handicap tags 435-027, at their home on S. Jefferson Street.

Minnie Woodard

Minnie Woodard

Police then said Jones forced Mr. Woodard to drive to Dinwiddie County to get money from an ATM.

When Mr. Woodard could not get cash from the ATM, police said Jones made him drive to the Bank of America off Crater Road, where the couple banks.

When Mr. Woodard went inside, police said bank workers realized something was amiss and called police.

“Apparently, he alerted a teller at the bank that he was under some type of duress. And they, in return, called the police," Capt. Brian Braswell with Petersburg Police said.

Police said Jones took off in Woodard’s SUV.

Petersburg crime scene

Petersburg police spotted the vehicle and multiple pursuits began in the city, then headed toward Dinwiddie, then to Hopewell and at last check had circled back to Dinwiddie.

In fact, officers said the BMW was last spotted on Boydton Plank Road in Dinwiddie County.

When police arrived at the couple’s home, they found Minnie Woodard had vanished.

Mr. Woodard told officers he believed his wife was at home and that he had not seen her since earlier in the morning.

Now her family is desperate for anyone who knows her whereabouts to help police.

“This could be your mother, your sister, your aunt, your daughter dragged out of the house... What would you do? This is an outstanding woman,” said Clement.

Warrants were issued for Jones on Carjacking, Abduction, Attempted Armed Robbery and Grand Larceny charges.

Additionally, police sources said Jones was also involved in an attempted robbery at a convenience store in Chesterfield County Wednesday afternoon.

Jones is described a light-skinned black male, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds.

Anyone with information about Jones' or Woodard’s whereabouts is urged to call 911 or Petersburg Police at 804-732-4222 or 804-863-2700.

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