DAYTON, Texas – Two people have been arrested after a teenage girl was found dead in a ditch Saturday morning in Liberty County, just south of Dayton.
Deputies said Michael Linkinhoker, 30, and Cindy Nelton, 34, have been charged in the death of 15-year-old Charli Gore, who was found by Mitchell Hatcher on CR 443 near FM 1409 around 8:00 a.m.
"I stopped looked and it was a female in a ditch," recalls Hatcher. "I went down to see if she had a pulse," said Hatcher.
Authorities said Gore had been at a party along the Trinity River celebrating the life sentencing of Sheila Muhs after she was found guilty Thursday in the 2009 shooting death of 7-year-old Donald Coffey.
Deputies said while Gore was at the party an altercation broke out. Authorities said she felt uncomfortable and walked away from the fight.
Authorities believe Linkinhoker then left in a Hyundai Sonata with Nelton in the passenger seat.
"At this point, it was undetermined if it was intentional or accidental but they ran over and killed Charlie Gore," said Cpt. Rex Evans with the Liberty County Sherriff’s Office.
Deputies said they then received an anonymous tip accusing Linkinhoker and Nelton as the suspects. When officers drove to Linkinhoker’s house they found him outside switching the license plates on his car, which had major hood and windshield damage.
Hatcher could not believe it all happened right down the road from his house.
"It’s terrible. It’s a terrible thing," he said. "You move out of the city to get away from things like this and you don’t expect it to be in your own backyard."
Linkinhoker was charged with negligent homicide. Nelton faces charges of interfering and failure to report a felony.