William Larry Easterwood, 35, and Elisabeth Lauren Watts, 31, are now behind bars after a manhunt last week.
Just prior to noon Thursday, July 25, the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) and Florida Department of Corrections fugitive response team, as well as the Leon County helicopter team, started searching for Easterwood in the Mt. Pleasant area.
Easterwood was eventually found hiding under the house where he lived, and was taken into custody. Watts, who was at the house at the time of the manhunt, was arrested at the scene as well.
The manhunt began as the result of an ongoing investigation by GCSO investigators Robert Maxwell and Kevin Godwin. Maxwell and Godwin had investigated a residential burglary back in May of this year.
According to an offense report, the victim in the residential burglary had a video surveillance system in their home, which recorded two individuals later identified as Easterwood and Watts as they broke into the house through a back door.
The report stated the video captured a female wearing a sweat shirt approach the back door and knock; she looked inside and checked the door knob using her sleeve over her hand to turn the knob.
The door was locked. The women then left the view of the camera. Ten minutes later a white male appears with a small bag, which he drops on the ground.
He then puts on a pair of gloves and produces two screwdrivers that he uses to pry open the door. It takes about nine minutes from when he gets to the door to break in the door.
He is in the house approximately nine minutes when he exits with a small bag.
The victim had reported that two handguns and cash were missing from the home after the burglary.
The firearms were listed on the National Crime Information Center and the Florida Crime Information Center (NCIC/FCIC) data bases.
A series of events and intelligence learned from the Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) in another possibly related case helped identify the two individuals in the video.
Pictures taken in that investigation were given to the GCSO investigators who used them to identify Watts and Easterwood from the video.
In addition, during another investigation by the LCSO, they recovered one of the firearms based on the NCIC/FCIC.
After identifying Watts and Easterwood, the two investigators began the month-long search for the pair.
Information gathered by Maxwell and Godwin led them to a home on Mt. Pleasant Road on Thursday morning.
The pair has been charged with felony possession of a weapon, felony burglary, felony possession of burglary tools, and two counts of felony larceny.
Easterwood also faces violation of parole charges.
The GCSO wants residents to know that the surveillance camera video of the burglary helped tremendously in the investigation.
Maxwell said that residents need to be sure and lock their vehicles and homes as many burglaries occur when doors are left unlocked.
This is an ongoing investigation involving both the GCSO and the LCSO. If you have any information concerning this or any burglaries please contact the GCSO at 850-627-9233.