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Murder suspect arrested

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

An Arnold man was booked early today on suspicion of murdering an Avery man who was found Sunday night near White Pines Lake.

Arlin Crawford, 39, was first arrested at his Splash Dam Road residence in the Mill Woods subdivision Wednesday afternoon and booked into the Calaveras County jail on felony charges of marijuana cultivation, child cruelty and possessing explosives — illegal fireworks.

The arrest came after deputies served a search warrant at Crawford's house relating to the death of 53-year-old Bradford Lavelle Davis, whose body was found Sunday night by a hiker. Crawford lives about three miles from where the body was found.

An autopsy done Tuesday showed that Davis died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Since Crawford's initial arrest, Calaveras County Sheriff's Department Lt. Gary Kuntz said investigators learned enough about the suspect to charge him with first-degree murder in the Crawford case shortly after midnight last night.

As of early today, Crawford was in the the county jail in lieu of bail totaling $930,000.

Kuntz wouldn't comment on the progress of the investigation or what led the sheriff's department to Crawford. He also couldn't comment on whether Crawford and Davis knew each other or who, if anyone, Crawford lived with.

Members of Davis' family could not be reached for comment this morning.

Investigators will not say where Davis might have died.

The victim had lived at the Safari Mobile Home Park in Avery with his longtime girlfriend, Francine Reece.

Reece said it was last Wednesday when she first suspected that Davis was missing. She called the sheriff's department the next day when she found what she thought was blood behind their mobile home.

Reece also could not be reached for comment this morning.


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