Bond now $1M for female suspect in stripper case

By The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — A woman suspected in the dismembering of a Bourbon Street stripper has been booked with harboring a sex offender, boosting her bond from $250,000 to $1 million, police said Wednesday.

Bond was raised Tuesday for Margaret Sanchez, 28, of Kenner, La., said Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan of the Hancock County, Miss., Sheriff’s Office.

Sanchez is accused of harboring 39-year-old Terry Christopher Speaks — the second suspect in the death of 22-year-old Jaren Lockhart. Authorities say Sanchez and Speaks were living together at the time of their arrest in Tangipahoa Parish, La., on charges unrelated to the dancer’s death. Neither has been charged in the death.

Hancock authorities are handling information because the case involves law enforcement agencies in two states and three jurisdictions.

Videos from the Bourbon Street club where Lockhart worked showed her leaving with Speaks and Sanchez early June 6, Hancock County investigators have said. Her torso was found the evening of June 7 on the beach in Bay St. Louis, and other parts of her body and remnants of her clothes two days later.

Speaks has declined to fight his detention or extradition from Louisiana to North Carolina, where he faces a federal charge of failing to register as a sex offender. He also is listed as a fugitive from probation in North Carolina state corrections records; he was arrested in Louisiana on a fugitive warrant from that state, as well as other charges.

Sanchez is being held in Tangipahoa Parish, north of Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, but Grannan said his agency is releasing information for all three jurisdictions, including Kenner, which is west of the city.

Because the case involves three jurisdictions in two states, and because the FBI has advanced equipment, the federal agency is processing all evidence, he said.

“The FBI has been in custody of the evidence from the get-go,” he said in a telephone interview. Since Lockhart was from New Orleans and investigators don’t know where she was killed, it made search for a central agency with the technology to deal with evidence, he said.

Ocean currents are the best clues so far to where Lockhart was dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, and marine scientists in Mississippi have been working to figure that out.

Results so far are preliminary, but investigators will probably not talk about the “real model” now being developed, Grannan said.

“If we get some definitive information, we’d still want to keep it close to the vest” to check the credibility of anyone who comes forward with possible information about the case, he said.