JACKSON COUNTY, Ark. – The Jackson County community continues to mourn the loss of 25-year-old Sydney Sutherland. In a small area like this, everyone knows everyone even the law enforcement officers working the case.
Almost every deputy knew Sydney Sutherland one way or another. Whether they watched her grow up or grew up along side her. Sheriff David Lucas said that’s not uncommon in a small community but the nature of this case is something he’s never seen before.
“As far as an abduction homicide I’ve not seen one in my 30 years,” Lucas said.
Handling a case of this magnitude for any small town sheriff’s office would be a strain, but this one is not only draining physically but emotionally.
“Everybody has watched everybody’s kids grow up. Went to school together, played ball together. That’s what really made it personal for us,” Lucas said.
Many of his deputies and himself have a connection to Sydney and her family, but Lucas said they can’t bring that into the investigation.
“We can’t let our emotions dictate how we do our job,” Lucas said.
Lucas said that comes with experience.
“It may be hard for some of the younger officers at first but they learn. Focus on the job and what needs to be done and we get it done,” Lucas said.
That’s exactly what they did. In 48 hours, Sutherland’s body was located and a suspect was put behind bars. You can tell by the mud on the patrol trucks, their job’s are still not done.
“We will not stop on this case and this investigation until it’s adjudicated in court,” Lucas said.
Lucas said he and his investigators have worked tirelessly making sure they dot every i and cross every t.
“It’s just been unbelievable. I’m just so proud of the deputies of this department,” Lucas said.
The community is taking notice as well.
“The community support has just been outstanding. I mean, it’s been overwhelming actually,” Lucas said.
From volunteering in the search to feeding deputies after Sutherlands body was located, Lucas said the outpour of love not only for his department but for the Sutherland family speaks volumes to what Syndey meant to this area.
“It’s just been outstanding and heartwarming to see that happen,” Lucas said.
Sheriff Lucas said so many law enforcement agencies came from across the area to help out in this case. He says they were crucial in finding Sutherland’s body and making an arrest. He wants to thank everyone from those agencies to the volunteers that helped out.