Family In Shock After Mannford Man Admits To Friend's Murder, Buries Body
MANNFORD, Oklahoma -
Mannford police say they have recovered the body of a murdered 23-year-old man, which was buried in a wooded area near Keystone Lake in Pawnee County.
About 11 a.m. Wednesday morning, Travis Wayne Pruit's body was found with gunshot wounds to the face, Mannford Police Chief Lucky Miller told NewsOn6.com.
Steve Dobbins II, 31, of Mannford, was arrested on a first-degree murder complaint after confessing to police he was the killer. He is being held without bond at the Creek County Jail.
Authorities say on Tuesday, Jamie Sager came to the Mannford Police Department to report she thought her husband, Dobbins, may have killed his friend.
Dobbins, Sager and Pruit shared a residence together in rural Mannford.
Police are still investigating to establish a clear motive, but Miller said an argument between the two men reportedly occurred Tuesday morning over breakfast.
"To what extent the argument played in an alleged murder, we don't know," Miller said. "Apparently the argument escalated; Ramen noodles were involved and how to cook them. The wife left the home during the course of the argument.
"We're still looking into it, but there were probably underlying issues other than Ramen noodles."
Miller said Sager told police she went shopping and returned 45 minutes later to her husband "acting nervous" and the house smelling strongly of Pine-Sol. She later found blood in the home, she told police.
"[Dobbins] indicated he needed to leave quickly and had a very large suitcase," Miller said Sager told investigators.
Sager then went to the MPD to report her suspicions.
At 1 a.m. Wednesday, investigators served a search warrant on their home on Keystone Loop in Mannford in Creek County.
Miller said he and other investigators found "blood-type stains" in the residence and recovered a semi-automatic weapon, which is believed to be the murder weapon.
About 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, police made contact with Dobbins, who later confessed to killing Pruit.
Pruit's body was recovered about 6 miles from the residence, in a heavily wooded area by Keystone Lake near the Creek-Pawnee County lines.
That area has become sacred for Pruit's family; they've even carved his name in a nearby tree.
"No words can describe what our family has been through," Holly Pruit, Travis Pruit's sister-in-law, said.
She says Travis Pruit was a great father to his 2-year-old son, and he loved playing with his "baby boy."
Travis Pruit's family doesn't know what to think about his murder.
They describe Dobbins as a good guy, and they can't imagine why he would leave his best friend's body buried in the thick of the woods.
"They were best friends. They were best friends," Holly Pruit said. "You would have never, ever, ever, ever in a million years thought this could happen -- that he could do something like this."
Sager said the argument over Ramen noodles was nothing, and that the two men would often needle each other as friends do.
She can't imagine her husband would have wanted to kill Travis Pruit.
"It was an accident," Sager said. "He didn't mean to, and he panicked."
The tip from Sager was instrumental to police solving the homicide in less than 24 hours, Miller said.
"Without her, we may not have even known this had happened," Miller said. "With [the victim] living with the couple -- and we don't know his relationship with his immediate family -- her coming forward was key."
Miller said a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia were also found in the home.
MPD was assisted in the investigation by the Creek County Sheriff's Office, the Creek County District Attorney's Office and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations.
Charges are expected later Thursday, Miller said.