Law enforcement officials were still searching Monday night for retired professor Laura Lee Crane after her car was discovered in Oklahoma City and two suspects arrested in connection with her weekend disappearance.
Crane, 77, left her Bellaire Drive South home around 11 a.m. Friday to buy groceries and cash a check at the Tom Thumb supermarket at 3050 S. Hulen, Lt. Abdul Pridgen said. Crane stopped to visit a friend on the way to the grocery store around 11:15 a.m. and hadn't been seen since, Pridgen said.
While a Fort Worth man and woman have been arrested, Oklahoma City police and Oklahoma County sheriff''s office accounts differ regarding their capture. Lt. Roger Dixon told a WFAA reporter that they were arrested at about 1:15 a.m. Monday morning after police pulled the Nissan Sentra over for a suspected illegal right turn. The two are also expected to be charged with auto theft and aggrevated kidnapping, Dixon said.
However, a jailer at the Oklahoma County jail said that the suspects were taken into custody at 1:08 a.m. Sunday. Fort Worth police declined to comment on the conflicting information Monday night. Edward Busby, 31, of Fort Worth, was being held on suspicion of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, driving under suspension and improper right turn, the jailer said. Kathleen Latimer, 39, of Fort Worth, was being held on suspicion of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of controlled drug substances and possession of drug paraphernalia, the jailer said.
The FBI was called into the investigation because Crane's ATM card was used to withdraw cash Friday, Pridgen said. Authorities have not been able to determine where the transaction was made, he said. Pridgen said two search teams have been working on the west and east sides of Fort Worth. Earlier Monday officials were cautious about disclosing information about the Oklahoma City developments. "The location of the recovered vehicle and other information regarding the dynamics of this investigation are too sensitive to release," Pridgen said. "We are concerned about the safety of individuals and the potential destruction of evidence."
Crane is 5 feet 8 inches tall, with brown eyes and gray hair. She was last seen wearing black slacks, a red sweater and a black jacket. Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the nonemergency number, (817) 335-4222. Crane worked at TCU for 28 years, first as a professor of education and later as director of the Starpoint School, according to a human resources representative. Many of the teachers at Starpoint now were her students at TCU, said La Jean Sturman, administrative assistant at Starpoint. "Her roots here run long and deep," said Shelley Cochran, a Starpoint School teacher.
For many years Crane served a dual function, teaching most of the special education classes at TCU and directing the Starpoint School, Cochran said. Her students at TCU also received teaching experience at Starpoint. This brought great continuity and consistency, Cochran said. "She is very ingrained in this building and the people who work here," Cochran said. After retiring from Starpoint in December 1990, Crane decided to tutor, Cochran said. She tutors all ages from elementary school through college and any subject, Cochran said. "She is able to teach so many subjects because she shows students the strategies to break things down so they can be understood," Cochran said.