Press Release – Sheriff Sam Craft of the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office announces the arrest of Wanda Gail Gordon, age 40, and Tobias Lamont Williams, age 27, both of Leesville.
The arrests are the result of an extensive investigation which began September 23, 2016 after Jonathan Ellis, age 40, of Leesville, was reported missing by family members.
Ellis was an active duty service member stationed at Ft Polk and his family reported last speaking to him during the evening hours of September 19, 2016.
VPSO Detectives and Agents from the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Command,
Fort Polk, worked a joint investigation into Ellis’ disappearance.
During the course of the investigation Wanda Gordon and Tobias Williams were both identified as persons of interest in the case.
An investigation into a complaint of vehicle theft led to a warrant being obtained on Wanda Gordon for the theft of the vehicle which was unrelated to the Ellis case.
Gordon was located and taken into custody on the outstanding warrant from Vernon Parish by law enforcement officers in Tyler, Texas on October 18th 2016.
Detectives and CID Agents traveled to Texas and Gordon did sign extradition and was transported back to Vernon Parish on the same day she was taken into custody.
Detectives attempted to interview Gordon in relation to the disappearance of Ellis but she refused to cooperate in the investigation.
Detectives were able to locate Tobias Williams and several interviews were conducted over a period of time with Williams in relation to the whereabouts of Ellis.
Williams did indicate to Investigators that Ellis was in fact the victim of a homicide.
Williams did lead Detectives to a location in the area of East Hawthorne Road where he indicated Ellis’ body was disposed.
VPSO Detectives, Fort Polk CID Agents, Vernon Parish Coroner Personnel, LSU Faces Lab Personnel from Baton Rouge, Personnel from the Shreveport Fire Department K9 Search and Rescue Task Force to include a cadaver dog responded to the location.
The area was meticulously searched and forensically processed for evidence.
The K9 handler and cadaver dog were able to identify numerous locations in a wooded area for forensic processing.
The location was diligently searched over a two day period and remains were located in several areas at the location.
Personnel from the LSU Faces Lab were able to immediately confirm that the located remains were in fact human.
After further investigation Wanda Gail Gordon and Tobias Williams were each arrested and charged with one count of First Degree Murder and one count of Obstruction of Justice. Each has a bond set at $ 3,000,000.00 (Three Million) which was set by 30th JDC Judge C. Anthony Eaves. Both remain in the Vernon Parish Jail.
Ellis’ truck was recovered at a location in the area of Jeane Chapel Road early on in the investigation.
The investigation into this matter is ongoing and may result in additional charges in the near future.
Sheriff Craft would like to express his gratitude and appreciation to all of the agencies involved in this investigation.
The professionalism, hard work, dedication, and combined effort of these agencies led to the arrests of the persons responsible for the murder of Jonathan Ellis.
Sheriff Craft and the employees of the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family of Jonathan Ellis.