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Victim’s body recovered in connection to kidnapping, murder involving on-duty Memphis officer

Updated: Jan. 10, 2021 at 11:43 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Memphis police officer is accused of kidnapping and murdering a man while on duty.

The Memphis Police Department identified the officer as 29-year-old Patric Ferguson, who has been relieved of duty.

Records show Ferguson was arrested on Sunday.

He faces several charges, including first-degree murder, first-degree murder in perpetration of aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with and fabricating evidence, according to MPD.

Police say a woman reported her 30-year-old boyfriend, Robert Howard, missing on Jan. 6. Police say a body believed to be Howard, was recovered Sunday in the area of Second Street and Wolf River bridge.

Howard was last seen the day before, according to MPD.

They say the woman was able to track Howard’s cell phone to Lamar Avenue and Shelby Drive. She found the phone at the location, but Howard was nowhere to be found.

The police department issued a City Watch Alert for Howard on Friday, Jan. 8.

During the investigation, MPD says detectives determined through evidence and information from the victim’s girlfriend that Ferguson was involved in Howard’s disappearance.

Investigators say Howard was taken from outside a home in the 3500 block of Mark Twain Street.

Investigators say Ferguson, acting on his own accord, armed himself with his personal handgun, forced the victim into the back of a patrol car, and drove to Frayser Boulevard and Denver Street, where he shot and killed him.

Investigators say Ferguson’s search history in his cell phone revealed multiple incriminating internet searches related to cleaning up crime scenes and how to destroy DNA evidence.

Investigators also uncovered evidence showing Ferguson purchasing cinderblocks, chains and padlocks at a local hardware store.

Detectives say they later obtained surveillance video capturing Ferguson shooting Howard while on-duty.

Investigators say Ferguson admitted to kidnapping and murdering Howard. They say Ferguson shot Howard while Howard was in the back of his police car.

They say Ferguson dropped off the body and then returned later to move it.

Investigators say Ferguson admitted to enlisting the help of Joshua Rogers, a friend, in moving the body to another location on Jan. 7.

Police executed a search warrant on Ferguson’s vehicle. They say they found bloody towels that Ferguson used to clean up evidence. They also conducted a search warrant at a home and recovered the gun they said Ferguson used.

MPD says Howard was known to Ferguson.

Rogers is being charged with accessory after the fact, abuse of a corpse and tampering with and fabricating evidence.

According to a police affidavit, Rogers admitted to helping Ferguson move the body to Rogers’ residence.

Rogers said he and Ferguson then moved the body again to another location.

Rogers said he then sold his vehicle to a local scrap yard.

MPD says Ferguson, who’s been with the department since 2018 and was assigned to the Tillman station, has been relieved of duty.

“No one is above the law. Knowing that a Memphis police officer, someone who took an oath to protect and serve, made the decision to commit this horrific crime is devastating. His actions were not that of a law enforcement officer and should not reflect on fellow officers,” said MPD Director Mike Rallings. “Our investigators responded swiftly and did an outstanding job by identifying the suspect responsible. This is an example of the professionalism and dedication that is displayed daily. Regardless of who you are, our investigators will conduct a thorough investigation and will seek justice for all victims.”

Ferguson is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Monday.

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