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Captured: Man accused of killing Tennessee sheriff’s deputy

Posted at 11:24 AM, Jun 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-01 11:24:39-04

DICKSON COUNTY, Tennessee — A man accused of fatally shooting sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Daniel Baker in Dickson County, Tennessee, has been captured following a two-day manhunt, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Friday via Twitter.

The bureau tweeted a photo of the bespectacled and handcuffed Steven Wiggins, his shirt and jeans soiled and torn, in the back of a patrol car two days after authorities say he shot Baker to death following a 911 call reporting a suspicious vehicle in rural Middle Tennessee.

The manhunt for the 31-year-old suspect began Wednesday morning along winding, treacherous terrain about 40 miles west of Nashville, authorities said.

One day before the deputy’s death, Wiggins was charged with aggravated assault, accused of slapping and pulling the hair of a woman he also threatened with a gun, according to a police report.

Erika Castro-Miles, described as an acquaintance of the suspect, told police Wiggins had been “doing meth all night and smoking marijuana” before assaulting her and stealing her car from a motel Tuesday morning in Kingston Springs, Tennessee, the police report said. He got away, it said.

Castro-Miles, 38, was charged this week with one count of first-degree murder in connection with the deputy’s death, according to the bureau.

She told investigators she was seated in the deputy’s vehicle with Wiggins and saw the suspect shoot Baker, 32, according to a criminal court affidavit. The woman fled and hid under a house before she was arrested.

Baker, a 10-year law enforcement veteran and former US Marine, had responded to a resident’s call about a suspicious vehicle about 7 a.m. Wednesday in Dickson County, said Susan Niland, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee bureau.

After a period of not being able to contact the deputy, authorities tracked down Baker’s vehicle with GPS in a wooded area about 2 miles from the location of the initial call by an officer from another agency. Baker was found dead in his vehicle.

No details of Wiggins’ capture were available, but the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it would brief the media later Friday.

“Teamwork and diligence has paid off!” the bureau tweeted with a photo of the handcuffed Wiggins.

A reward for information leading to his capture grew to $46,000 after contributions from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, federal law enforcement agencies and police associations from various cities.

Baker joined the sheriff’s office full time in 2008 and became a member of the special operations unit in 2013, according to the sheriff. He was married with a daughter.