WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WMC) - A cold case is now solved after two women were found murdered 19 years ago. Prosecutors say the killer is already behind bars.
One of the murdered women, Patricia Thornton, grew up in Arkansas and lived in West Memphis with her second husband. Her family says now that a man has been indicted for the murders 19 years later, they have a bit of closure and they know what they want to happen to the 70-year-old suspect.
“We were excited, it’s kind of nice to know she can rest in peace,” said Angela Henry, cousin.
Angela Henry is Patricia Thornton’s first cousin. She said the past 19 years have been a nightmare since the 37-year-old mother of three was found stabbed to death along with 46-year old Nancy Alvis.
Seventy-year-old Thomas Maupin was just indicted by a Shelby County grand jury for the two murders. The two women were known to frequent Harpo’s, a bar on Highway 51. WMC Action News 5 spoke with customers in 2001 who said Thornton was a frequent customer.
“Everybody been looking for her. No one knew where she was or heard from her and that was unusual because she always came around,” said Wayne Hopper, customer.
Alvis was discovered nude in a field not far from Harpo’s. The next day, investigators found Patricia Thornton’s body.
The murders have taken a toll on Thornton’s family.
“Her mom grieved to her death going to her grave not knowing who did this to her daughter,” said Henry.
Angela Henry says she and the many cousins and Thornton’s sister never gave up looking for her killer.
Investigators say Maupin was a suspect at the time of the murders, admitting he knew the two women and he frequently went to an area not far where their bodies were found with women he paid for sex.
“What gets me is this man killed a 6-year-old and they let him out of it,” said Henry.
Maupin came to Memphis after being convicted of the abduction and murder in 1988 of a 6-year-old girl. He appealed his initial sentence spending only a few years behind bars. In 2017, Maupin was convicted for the 2001 stabbing and rape of a 31-year-old woman. DNA and Maupin’s false teeth with his name on them left at that scene, eventually tied him to the two murders near Harpo’s after investigators took another look.
“He needs to be put behind bars and the key thrown away,” said Henry.
Angela Henry said she and her family will go to Maupin’s trial. A trial date has not been set.