Terrence Thomas, the husband of Karen Boyd-Thomas - the 31-year-old mother of two whose body was found in a river a week after her reported disappearance - was taken into custody by Memphis police homicide investigators.
Friday evening, hundreds of family members, friends and those in the community turned up for a candlelight vigil at Northside High School to remember Ms. Thomas' life.
Police charged the husband with first degree murder and false reporting. Terrence Thomas is expected to make an appearance in court on Monday, Oct. 22. He is locked up in the Shelby County jail.
Police said the 33-year-old strangled his wife in their bedroom and then dumped her body off the Loosahatchie River bridge near north Watkins Street and Thomas Street.
"It's kind of weird it's so close to home," said Anthony Taylor, neighbor who lives on the same block. "You figure we move into this neighborhood, you just don't feel like nothing like that would happen."
Taylor added that the Thomases kept to themselves.
Ms. Thomas was last seen by her husband Terrence on the evening of Oct. 11, a week before her body was found in the river. He filed a missing person's report the next morning, Oct. 12, with Memphis police after his wife didn't show up for work at a downtown hotel.
In a joint news conference some 25 hours after Ms. Thomas' nude body was discovered, Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham and Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said the children were at home the evening of Oct. 11 when Terrence Thomas allegedly strangled her.
The children are in protective custody, Sheriff Oldham said.
The husband surrendered to the Shelby County Sheriff in Arlington Thursday evening and admitted to killing his wife, Sheriff Oldham said during the 10-minute news conference.
"We look forward to taking this forward through the criminal justice process to a successful end," Sheriff Oldham said.
After Terrence Thomas filed a missing persons report with Memphis police, Director Armstrong said his officers obtained a search warrant and conducted several searches at their Welchlawn Cove home in Raleigh. The results of the search warrant were not revealed.
It was also revealed in a court affidavit filed Friday that Ms. Thomas was nude when her body was pulled from the Loosahatchie River.
Director Toney said Terrance had been a person of interest since he reported his wife's disappearance. His story also didn't add up.
"We will say that there were several different accounts of the details surrounding her disappearance but all of those accounts were suspicious to us, which led us to continue the investigations," Director Toney said.
Court records showed Ms. Thomas had contacted police several times over the years after she said her husband abused her.
"Certainly it was something that we looked at as a possible motive attached to her disappearance," Director Toney added.
The hundreds who attended the candlelight vigil at talked about her life, her spirit, and the loved ones she leaves behind.
At Northside High School, purple ribbons were tied around candles with Karen's picture. While tears were shed, loved ones also talked about her sense of humor. They say the loving mother of two will be missed.
"She's a sweet, caring, wonderful, she's just a sweet person," said Jacquelyne Brewer, Karen's sister. "I don't know even know why they want to hurt her. I just miss her, I want her back. It will never be the same again, I'll never see her again."
"She always looked after whoever she appreciated more than anything," added Tameka Talley. "She was a good friend, a really good friend. I'm going to truly miss her."
The vigil was scheduled days ago, to raise money to help contribute to search efforts. After Karen's body was discovered Thursday, family members decided to use the vigil, to celebrate her life.
FOX13 News reporters Matt Gerien and Bofta Yimam contributed to this report.
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