Sheriff: Murder suspect sent texts from victim’s phone to his mother to throw off investigators

Harrison County Sheriff Brandon Fletcher identified the suspect as Canton James Echols, 33, of Harleton. (Source: KLTV)
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 7:52 PM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV/Gray News) - A suspect believed to be involved in the death of a man over the weekend is in custody, according to Texas authorities.

Harrison County Sheriff Brandon Fletcher said during a press conference that 33-year-old Canton James Echols was arrested and charged with the murder of 31-year-old Blake Edward Reddock.

Reddock was found unresponsive along Herschel McCoy Road in Harrison County on Sept. 10, KLTV reported. Officials said Reddock appeared to be a victim of a homicide, after appearing to have been stabbed multiple times.

Investigators worked to put together a timeline to figure out what had happened to Reddock. They said they had recovered surveillance video of Echols and Reddock taken at a pawn shop on Saturday, which they used to identify the suspect.

The sheriff’s office received a call for a vehicle fire on Oscar Reagan Road around 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 10. Later that evening, authorities said they received a call about a body someone had found on the side of the road, which was identified as Reddock’s.

Investigators said they traced the vehicle to Reddock and also discovered Echols had residences on both roads.

While they were heading to serve search warrants for Echols, Fletcher said they found him riding a bicycle and took him into custody.

During the investigation into Reddock’s murder, Fletcher said Reddock’s mother received a text from her son’s phone number on Sept. 10 in which he allegedly said he picked up a hitchhiker and gave him gas money. He also said he would see her after he dropped off the hitchhiker.

Reddock’s mother told authorities she sent her son some replies later and noticed that some had been “read,” but others soon stopped being delivered to his phone as it seemed to be turned off.

The sheriff said he believed there was no hitchhiker and that the suspect, Echols, had sent those messages to throw off law enforcement during the investigation.