[UPDATE] Teresa Manuel Death Investigation, Suspect in Court

By: Eyewitness News; GCSO Press Release; Jerry Askin Email
By: Eyewitness News; GCSO Press Release; Jerry Askin Email

[UPDATE] Quincy, Florida - 9-9 - 10am -

The man who deputies think killed his girlfriend Last month was in court this morning.

23-year old Dekendrick Ford was before the judge this morning for violation of probation. He was originally charged in 2007 for fleeing an officer. This morning, The judge sentenced him to 60 months in the Department of Corrections. Sheriff deputies still have not officially charged him with the death of his girlfriend 23-year old Teresa Manuel. Her body was found last month in The woods off Old Federal Highway in Quincy.

Ford is scheduled to have custody hearing next Friday, September 16th to get custody of his kids.

Stay tuned to WCTV for the latest on the status of Dekendrick Ford.

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UPDATE 08-24-2011 at 6:05pm by Jerry Askin

It's been two weeks since the body of a Gadsden County mother was found, and deputies are still pointing the finger at her boyfriend.

23-year old Teresa Manuel was last seen with Dekendrick Ford at the Wal-Mart on Pat Thomas Parkway back on August 8th. Her body was found days later off Old Federal Road in Quincy.

Ford remains behind bars on a violation of probation charge. He has not been officially charged with her death.

The couple's two young children remain in foster care.
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UPDATE 08-12-2011 at 6:00pm by Jerry Askin

The Department of Children and Families is looking for a full time family to care for the children of a Gadsden County mother who was found dead in Quincy early Wednesday morning.

A DCF Spokesperson confirmed that Teresa Manuel's two young children are in state custody right now in foster care.

Manuel has a 2-year old girl and an 11-month old boy. DCF officials tell us they are looking for non-relatives to take care of the children because they say family members are not able to care for the children at this time.

"This is a very tragic situation and anytime we have to remove the children, we make sure they are in a loving home," says DCF spokesperson Terri Durdaller.

The Early Learning Coalition in Tallahassee and in Gadsden County are accepting donations for the two children.

Here's a list of what the Early Coalition says the children will need:

Pull-ups size 2t-3t (girl)
Diapers size 5 (girl)
Diapers size 3 (boy)
Baby Wipes
Girl Clothes size 24mos. – 3T
Boy Clothes size 12-18mos.
Girl Shoes size 7 toddler
Boy Shoes size not known yet
Formula – Carnation Good Start
Baby Food – Stages 2 & 3
Sippy Cups – Hard & Soft lids
Bibs
2 – toddler tooth brushes & non-fluoride toothpaste
2 – Car Seats

And of course monetary donations are greatly appreciated. Contact the Early Learning Coalition to make your financial donation for the two children at :

1940 N Monroe St # 70
Tallahassee, FL 32303-4759
(850) 385-0504

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UPDATE 08-12-2011 at 11:30am by Jerry Askin

The funeral for Teresa Manuel will be held next Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 1:00pm at the Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Quincy, FL.

This information is according to the father of Teresa Manuel, Mr. Ernest Manuel.
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UPDATE 08-11-2011 at 6:20pm by Jerry Askin

Diane Robinson hasn't slept normal since she heard the news that her son's girlfriend 23-year old Teresa Manuel died. And deputies believe her son Dekendrick Ford is to blame.

"I considered her just like a daughter to me and we were real close. It wasn't nothing out there in the world I wouldn't do for Teresa," says Robinson.

Deputies found the body of Teresa Manuel in the woods off Old Federal Road in Quincy early Wednesday morning. They're linking her death to Dekendrick Ford because they say she was last seen with him in Quincy Monday afternoon.

"Deep down in my heart, I know my son would not have done that. And if nobody knows their child mom does. And I feel like he wouldn't have done something like that - Not to take her out like that," says Robinson.

Manuel leaves behind a 2-year old girl and an 11-month old boy. And now all Robinson can think about is her two young grandchildren.

"I still stand by her and I'm sorry this had to happen and my heart goes out to the family and everybody," says Robinson.

"Her immediate family needs to get those kids out of foster care and give them as much love as they can because I know they want their mama, but they'll never have her again tho," says Sabrina Lockwood who has known Teresa for years.

We did reach out to the family of Teresa Manuel, they did not want to go on camera, but they are still grieving as you can imagine.

Of course we'll keep following this story and bring you details on the funeral arrangements as they become available.

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UPDATE 8-10-2011 11:20pm by Amy Long

The body of a young mother of two was discovered in a wooded area off Old Federal Road in Quincy Wednesday morning 8/10.

Shametria James who lives near Manuel said, "We couldn't sleep after we found out he had did that to her."

23-year-old Teresa Manuel had been missing for at least a day.

A Gadsden County missing person's timeline shows Dekendrick Ford, Manuel's live-in boyfriend, filed a missing persons report around 9 Tuesday morning. 8/9

Dorian Williams who remembers the young mother said, "For this to hit so close to home it's a big difference. A lot of us are close knit. We stick together."

Gadsden County deputies say Ford admitted to getting in a fight with Manuel on Monday. 8/9

Anthony Chambers who lives in the Vanguard Apartment Complex said, "I didn't suspect anything was going on in her personal life because she was always just going to and from work and back home." James added, "When she does come home she goes and checks the mail, brings her little girl outside for a while and then goes back in."

Manuel's family hadn't heard from her and when they went to check on her at Vanguard Apartments in Gretna, they found the back door open, the television on, but no Manuel.

Ford was arrested for violation of probation, but he is also a suspect in Manuel's disappearance.

"How could you kill the mother of your kids? That just doesn't make sense," said James.

Neighbors say Ford and Manuel were high school sweethearts. They graduated from East Gadsden High and had two children; one of them under one and the other two years old. One neighbor said their relationship was on the rocks.

Manuel worked at a gas station in Quincy and worked at Tallahassee memorial Hospital in Environmental Services.

Ford remains in the Gadsden County Jail for violation of probation. At this time, he has not been charged with Manuel's death.
GCSO is still not saying how the 23-year-old died.

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UPDATE 08-10-2011 at 6:20pm by Jerry Askin

The suspicious death of Teresa Manuel has many folks in Gadsden County asking questions. And now those who knew her personally are speaking out.

Leniece Anderson and Lakeshia Lane will now only share memories of their former classmate and the young mother of two small children.

"It will never be the same again," says Lakeisha Lane - a friend of Teresa Manuel.

Just before 1:00 Wednesday morning, Gadsden County sheriff deputies found 23-year old Teresa Manuel's body in the woods off Old Federal Road in Quincy.

"She was a hardworking mother, she worked for anything she had so she didn't deserve nothing like this," says Leniece Anderson, friend of Teresa.

Deputies say Manuel was last seen Monday with her boyfriend Dekendrick Ford, near the Wal-Mart in Quincy. Deputies caught up with Ford Wednesday morning and arrested him, linking him as the suspect in the crime.

"I didn't suspect anything was going on in her personal life because she was always just going to and from work and back home," says Anthony Chambers.

If you have anymore information about the death of Teresa Manuel you're asked to call the GCSO, that number is 850- 933-5794.

Ford remains in the Gadsden County Jail for violation of probation. At this time, he has not officially been charged with Manuel's death.

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[UPDATE] 8-10 3pm -

The Gadsden County Sheriff's Office is now officially ruling the missing person case as a homicide investigation.
Dekendrick Lamar Ford is in custody for a different charge, but he is a person of interest in this case.

• On Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 at approximately 9:03 am, the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office took a missing persons report on Teresa Jean Manuel from Dekendrick Lamar Ford, her live-in boyfriend of 10 years.

• Ford stated that he and Teresa got into a verbal altercation on Monday, August 8th, 2011 at approximately 5:45 pm, where she exited the vehicle somewhere near the entrance to Wal-Mart off of Pat Thomas Parkway.

• Manuel’s family had not heard from her since Monday and went to her residence in Gretna, FL and found the rear door ajar and the television still on. The family notified Gretna Police Department and an investigation, in conjunction with the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division, began.

• On August 9th, 2011 at approximately 10 pm, information began coming in that indicated Manuel’s disappearance was under suspicious circumstances.

• The information coming in led investigators to the area off of Old Federal Road where the body of Teresa Jean Manuel was located in a remote area at approximately 12:16 am this morning.

• The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Crime Scene Unit responded to the scene.

• As of 9 am this morning an autopsy is being performed and this is officially ruled as a homicide investigation.

• We are asking that if anyone knows anything concerning the death of Teresa Manuel to contact Inv. B. Alexander at (850)933-5794 or Crime Stoppers at (850)574-TIPS.

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[UPDATE 8-10 Noon -

We have new information about a Gadsden County woman who went missing last night. Family members are telling us they got a call that the 23-year old died early this morning.

She was last seen in the afternoon on August 8 at the Wal-Mart in Quincy. Her boyfriend, Dekendrick Lamar Ford, was with her at the time. GCSO considers Manuel's disappearance suspicious. Ford is believed to be in possession of a 2000 gold Nissan Maxima - Florida plate 66-12-GY.

Gadsden County deputies are not saying if or how Manuel died. They do say they plan to release more information later this afternoon.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office at 850-875-8825.
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Gadsden County, FL - August 9, 2011 --

The Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information concerning the whereabouts of 23 year old Teresa Jean Manuel. Manuel was last seen yesterday at 4:45 pm at the Wal-Mart in Quincy, FL with her boyfriend, DEKENDRICK LAMAR FORD.

Manuel’s disappearance is being investigated by the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office and is considered to be suspicious.

Ford is believed to be in possession of her vehicle (which is a 2000 gold Nissan Maxima with Florida plate of 6612GY) and is a suspect in her disappearance. If you have any information surrounding the disappearance of Teresa Jean Manuel please contact the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office at850-875-8825.


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