CRAWFORD COUNTY (KFSM) — A Van Buren woman is charged with murder in the death of the father of her 3-year-old child.
Jessica Ann Howard, 24, was formally charged Thursday (Feb. 7) for the death of Gabriel Quispe, 49, of Fort Smith.
Howard is facing murder in the 1st degree, a felony with a firearm, and theft of property charges.
Quispe's body was found Wednesday (Jan. 30) at Dripping Springs Cemetery near the community of Uniontown. Howard was arrested later Wednesday.
Sheriff Ron Brown says authorities believe Howard lured Quispe into meeting her and allegedly tried to rob him amid a custody dispute. Quispe recently obtained partial custody of the child.
Family members of Quispe said he worked hard at helping Jessica Howard with drug addiction. Family members also said only weeks before the murder they staged an intervention in hopes of helping her turn her life around.
Murder in the 1st degree has a range from no less than 10 years in prison nor more than 40 years or life. A felony with a firearm charge is an enhancement penalty of up to 15 years in prison. Theft of property has a maximum of six years in prison.
Howard is being held on a $500,000 bond at the Crawford County Detention Center.
She is presumed innocent until all charges are proven guilty.