A 911 call reporting a suspicious vehicle in rural Middle Tennessee ended with the slaying of Dickson County sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Daniel Baker.
Late Wednesday, Erika Castro-Miles, 38, was charged with one count of first-degree murder in connection with the death, and the manhunt for another suspect continued into early Thursday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.
Investigators said Castro-Miles “participated” in Wednesday morning’s fatal shooting of Baker but did not release any more details.
Baker, 32, a 10-year law enforcement veteran, had responded to a resident’s call about a suspicious vehicle about 7 a.m. in Dickson County, about 40 miles west of Nashville, said Susan Niland, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee agency.
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.
Reward offered in suspect’s capture
Authorities said the search for Wiggins, who has a history of violent crimes, continued Thursday along swaths of Dickson County. The manhunt involved US marshals as well as local canine and aviation units.
Wiggins, 31, who was last seen wearing a black polo shirt and jeans, was identified from surveillance video and information collected at the scene, Niland said.
“You can see what can transpire from something that we think is just a suspicious vehicle,” an emotional Bledsoe said earlier.
Wiggins has been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s 10 most-wanted list.
A reward for information leading to Wiggins’ capture on Thursday grew to $46,000 after contributions from Gov. Bill Haslam, federal law enforcement agencies and police associations from various cities.
Wiggins and Castro-Miles were identified as acquaintances, according to the Tennessee agency.
A ‘faithful servant’
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.
“There’s not much I can say today other than our hearts are shattered,” Bledsoe said.
“This is one of our best deputies. He’s a supervisor. He’s worked his way up to sergeant on patrol. He’s one of the guys who puts it on the line every day to keep our community safe.”
A friend of Baker’s set up a GoFundMe page for the family of the slain deputy, who had recently purchased a home.
Bledsoe had a message for Wiggins: “If he is listening or anyone listening that knows him, that can talk some sense into him that he will turn himself in, that’s what he needs to do.”
In a statement to CNN affiliate WZTV in Nashville, Baker’s mother, Veronica Bryan, described her son as a kind and compassionate young man.
“He loved his family, and adored his wife and daughter,” the statement said. “He loved the outdoors, fishing and hunting. He served his country in the Marines and came home to serve his community. He was a faithful servant to all.”