Investigators looking into the suspicious death of a 24-year-old city resident have found a man they have been wanting to question.
Agents with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation had been looking for 31-year-old Lofton Gray, wanting to speak with him about the death of his girlfriend, Amanda Cecil.
Cecil was found dead inside her Chickasha home on Friday. OSBI has yet to release any details surrounding the death, nor has the agency named Gray a suspect in Cecil's death.
News 9 has learned that Gray and Cecil first became acquainted at the University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma, in Chickasha. They were both studying to be journalists.
"She was a good writer," Dr. J.C. Casey, the professor who taught the class, said of the 2012 graduate.
Casey says it's just so hard to believe this has happened and that the two of them would end up at the center of a news story.
"You could see the little flirtations going on," said Casey, "and it turned into everybody's worst nightmare."
That nightmare happened last Friday, when a family member found Cecil dead inside the couple's home in Chickasha. According to the OSBI, Gray could not initially be found, but agents made it clear they wanted to talk to him.
"We want to try to find out what she was doing prior to her death," said Jessica Brown, OSBI spokesperson, "[and] what the boyfriend was doing prior to her death."
Gray was found Saturday night more than 500 miles away from the scene of the crime. He was in Gallup, N.M.
According to police reports, Gray was driving a stolen 1991 white Jeep Cherokee. New Mexico State Police were called to a road rage incident where Gray allegedly threw a crowbar at another motorist. That motorist then reportedly hit Gray with his vehicle, sending him to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Gray has been arrested and booked into jail in New Mexico for possession of the stolen vehicle. He's expected to be extradited back to Chickasha.
Cecil's friends at USAO, who also know Gray, are in disbelief.
"You see someone who is just so vibrant and full of energy," said Drake King, a friend of Cecil's, "and then you hear about something so negative and it doesn't make sense at all."
With so many questions surrounding the incident, Cecil's friends, classmates, and even her former professors, are asking everyone to remember her life and not her tragic end.
"I will always think of Mandy laughing or cutting up," said Dr. Casey, "she was always in the moment."
USAO is offering grief counseling to current students, and a donation site has been set up to assist the family.
Meanwhile, Sherrie Luers, a friend of the Cecil family established a Go Fund Me Donation page to assist the family during their time of grief. At last check, $2,845 have been donated toward the $5,000 goal.
“I would just like to say thank you to all who have supported, prayed and donated to the Cecil Family through this unexpected tragedy,” said Luers, “Mandy Cecil always had a smile on her face and could just make you feel better. It's a blessing just to have known Mandy,”
According to the obituary, the life and times of Amanda "Mandy" Lenore Cecil of Chickasha, OK will be celebrated at a memorial service to be held at 4:30 pm Thursday, September 11, 2014 at Epworth United Methodist Church, 320 S. 4th St., Chickasha, OK.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Epworth UMC or the charity of your choice.