Documents reveal possible motive behind missing Havana man's murder

Two arrested for missing Havana man's kidnapping, murder.png
Documents reveal motive behind missing Havana man's murder.png
Posted at 2:45 PM, Dec 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-14 11:30:49-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - New documents are revealing more about what led up to the kidnapping and fatal shooting of 27-year-old Kelton Washington earlier this week. 

WARNING: The details in this story could be considered disturbing to some. 

According to an arrest document, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to the Budget Inn at 1402 West Tennessee Street on Wednesday, Dec. 12. When they arrived, they spoke with Kelton Washington's family members, who said they hadn't heard from him since Dec. 9. 

The family members said they learned that Washington had rented a room at the Budget Inn and, believing he may have still been there, went to investigate. After speaking with hotel staff, family members were able to see security footage that led them to believe Washington had gotten hurt.

Documents say that when officers reviewed the security footage in question, they saw Washington and a woman walk toward a room around 4:13 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 10. About two hours later, two men walked toward the same room and tried to open the door. Less than a minute later, the woman who was with Washington opened the door and the men immediately rushed inside.

Moments later, documents state the two men exited the room, dragging a struggling Washington with them toward the parking lot where the woman had run off to. The footage then captured a black car speeding away from the parking lot.

Witnesses were able to identify two of the three suspects as Calandra Cooper, 32, and 38-year-old Christopher Rumph.

According to the arrest document, one witness told police that he had taken Cooper and another woman to a Gadsden County nightclub on Dec. 9. Upon arriving, the witness and the other woman left the car while Cooper stayed inside the car. After leaving the club, however, the witness told police that Cooper and the car were gone.

The next day, the witness found his car at the Arbor Crest Apartments in Quincy. 

When officers searched the car, documents say they found Washington's jewelry, a checkbook belonging to Rumph's family member, and a blood stain on the passenger seat.

Eventually, Cooper contacted investigators and went to the Tallahassee Police Department for an interview. Initially, investigators say Cooper lied about her activities the night of Dec. 10.

When confronted with conflicting evidence, Cooper admitted that she had a casual relationship with Washington and was in a dating relationship with Rumph. She also confirmed that she and Rumph lived together at Arbor Crest Apartments.

Cooper said that she took the witness's car the night of Dec. 9 and traveled to Tallahassee along with Rumph and the third suspect. Once in Tallahassee, they met with Washington at a West Pensacola Street gas station.

Following a drug deal between Washington and Rumph, Cooper got into Washington's vehicle and the two went to the Budget Inn. According to arrest documents, she claimed that Rumph and the third suspect stayed in the black car and didn't know where she and Washington were going.

Police say Copper confirmed that she was the one who went into the motel room with Washington. She said that she ran into Rumph and the third suspect when she walked away from the room several hours later. Cooper claimed that Rumph told her that he wanted to go into the room to buy drugs from Washington, so she opened the room door. 

"As noted, the video evidence demonstrated that Cooper opened the room door with a key card for Rumph and [the third suspect], and that she immediately turned and ran away towards the parking lot," documents said.

Investigators say Cooper couldn't explain how Rumph and the third suspect knew where to find her and Washington and maintained that she was unaware what would happen when she opened the door for the men.

She ultimately told investigators that the motive behind the kidnapping wasn't robbery, but stemmed from a long-standing beef between Washington and the third suspect. 

Cooper confessed that she watched as Rumph and the third suspect forced Washington from the room and forced him into the passenger seat of the car. She said that she was sitting in the front passenger seat when Washington began fighting to escape, so the third suspect subdued him.

"Cooper stated that Rumph continued to drive into Gadsden County, and that the victim began begging for his life," investigators wrote. At one point, documents say Rumph and the third suspect took Washington's jewelry and his other valuables.

Cooper told officers that Rumph drove the car to an area on Strickland Road.

That's when Rumph and the third suspect drug Washington from the car and to the wood line as he continued begging for his life. Cooper said that she heard the sound of yelling for several minutes, followed by multiple gunshots.

Rumph and the third suspect then returned to the car, without Washington.

Documents say Cooper claimed that Rumph and the third suspect threatened to kill her if she said anything about the murder. She said that she didn't see a gun at any point during the incident, although she said she was aware Rumph carried a gun on him constantly. 

After the deed, Cooper said Rumph dropped off the third suspect in Gretna and the two of them went back to their apartment.

Investigators say Cooper later took them to the area on Strickland Road, where Washington's body was discovered. Documents say evidence at the scene suggested that Washington died from his gunshot wounds. 

Later on, investigators spoke to Rumph, who had been arrested for unrelated burglary charges by the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office. At first, documents say he denied any and all involvement.

But when confronted with conflicting evidence, Rumph claimed that Cooper had taken the black car on Dec. 9, picked him up from Blountstown and then picked up the third victim from Gretna. Once they arrived in Tallahassee, Rumph said they dropped Cooper off at the gas station on Pensacola Street where she got into a white SUV.

Rumph then claimed that he and the third suspect went back to Gadsden County in the car, where they stayed until the following morning. He told investigators that Cooper returned to their apartment around 7 a.m. 

According to a probable cause affidavit, Rumph claimed that Cooper had told him that she committed a robbery and a murder. He said she named two accomplices by nickname, but, when investigators looked into one of the names, they found that person had no involvement. 

Documents say investigators were also able to talk to the third suspect who confirmed that Rumph and Cooper picked him up the night of Dec. 9.

He said that the three smoked inside the car for about 20 minutes before Rumph told him that he and Cooper were going to leave and go driving around. According to the third suspect, Rumph told him that he was "going to go hit a lick," which the suspect understood as slang for a drug deal or a robbery.

Based on the evidence, investigators found probable cause to charge Cooper and Rumph with first degree murder and kidnapping. Documents say investigators are still gathering evidence about the third suspect's involvement.

Washington's murder is still being investigated by TPD and the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office. 

Two arrested for missing Havana man's murder, additional suspects sought

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Two people have been arrested for the kidnapping and murder of Kelton Washington. 

Calandra E. Cooper, 32, and Christopher Rumph, 38, have been arrested for the kidnapping and murder of 27-year-old Kelton Washington.

Cooper was booked into the Leon County Detention Center on Thursday while Rumph was booked into the Gadsden County Jail.

Cooper was scheduled to make a first court appearance at 8:30 a.m. Friday. Rumph is scheduled to make his first appearance in Leon County Friday afternoon. 

Washington's body was found Thursday morning in Gadsden County near the intersection of Ben Bostic and Strickland Road. Police say he was kidnapped from Tallahassee on Sunday. 

TPD's Violent Crimes Unit is continuing to investigate the incident and believes there are additional suspects involved in the incident. 

Investigators are asking for an-one who may have witnessed the incident or has information to call TPD at 850-891-4200 or if they wish to remain anonymous, to call Crime Stoppers at 850-574-TIPS.

Homicide investigation underway after missing man found in Gadsden County

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - A man who was kidnapped from Tallahassee three days ago has been found dead in Gadsden County.

Police confirm 27-year-old Kelton Washington was found dead in Gadsden County Thursday morning. He was reported missing after he disappeared from Tallahassee.

His body was found near the intersection of Ben Bostic and Strickland Road.

Authorities have opened a homicide investigation into Washington's death. 

On Wednesday night, around 9:08 p.m., officers with the Tallahassee Police Department arrived at the Budget Inn at 1402 West Tennessee Street. They  went to the motel in response to a missing person report regarding Washington, TPD said in a news release. 

There, officers met with concerned family members. They told officers they last saw Washington in Havana on Sunday evening.

Investigators from TPD’s Violent Crimes Unit responded to the scene and assumed the investigation due to signs of foul play involving Washington’s disappearance.  

Within hours of beginning an investigation, TPD investigators said, they went to an area in Gadsden County where Washington was found deceased.  

Investigators are asking anyone with information about this case to please call them at (850) 891-4200 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 574-TIPS

This is a developing story. Stay with us for details. 

Body found near I-10 in Gadsden County, authorities investigating

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - Authorities are investigating after a body was found near I-10 in Gadsden County.

The Tallahassee Police Department and the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office are investigating after a body was found near the intersection of Ben Bostic and Strickland Road.

The investigation is active and ongoing.

There's no word on an identity or cause of death at this time.