Two men arrested in Thanksgiving Day double homicide

WICHITA — Police said today that they have arrested two young men in the slaying of a Wichita couple whose bodies were discovered on Thanksgiving.

Police said both men, an 18-year-old from Sumner County and a 17-year-old from Wichita, remain in custody.

According to jail booking information, the two are being held on suspicion of murder or manslaughter and aggravated robbery. On Tuesday, investigators will present the case to prosecutors, who will decide whether charges will be filed.

Police said a relative discovered Jessie Foust, 25, and Pharon Adrian Jackson, 26, dead in their home at Chautauqua and Elm, near Central and Hillside.

Police said the two apparently were dead for several hours before they were found.

According to a police report, Jackson's 20-year-old sister discovered the bodies on Thanksgiving afternoon. Relatives became concerned when the two didn't show up for a Thanksgiving dinner.

The report said Jackson suffered more than one wound. Jackson and Foust were pronounced dead at the scene.

Two small children in the home — a 4-year-old boy and a 1-year-old boy — were uninjured. Police said they are staying with relatives.

"I don't think any of us can fathom" what the couple's children went through, police Deputy Chief Tom Stolz said at a briefing on the case at City Hall.

"I don't think we can quantify ... the tragedy here," Stolz said.

"Every homicide is upsetting, but this one is tough" because of the small children being in the home where the bodies lay for so long, he said.

Investigators think the children could have been in a bedroom when the shooting occurred, but aren't certain, Stolz said.

Police have interviewed the 4-year-old. "He did give us a statement," Stolz said.

Investigators think Jackson knew both suspects, and that Jackson and one of the suspects had been involved in a previous transaction involving a gun, Stolz said.

Early in the investigation, police said they were treating the case as a robbery.

Asked whether there was a motive for the killings, Stolz said, "Just plain old stealing, theft," although detectives continue to look for other motives, he said.

Some items stolen from the house have been recovered, he said.

During the investigation, police have confiscated more than one gun.

The two victims appear to have been shot with the same weapon, Stolz said.

There was no sign of forced entry into the home, he said.

The 18-year-old suspect was arrested Saturday at his Sumner County home, and the 17-year-old was arrested Saturday in Wichita.

Investigators have received "very good cooperation" from people who knew the victims, Stolz said.

Detectives worked 36 hours straight on the case.

The two deaths mark the 24th and 25th homicides of the year. Police have five "open" homicide cases, meaning they are actively looking for suspects, Stolz said.

Police could use the public's help solving the cases, "so we can get justice," he said.

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