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Arkansas man facing murder charges after woman's body found wrapped in comforter

When Arkansas investigators searched the victim's minivan, they found blood "in a pattern indicating that a body was dragged out of the van," the affidavit said.

SEBASTIAN COUNTY, Ark. — Maurice Anthony Richardson has been charged in the Circuit Court of Sebastian County with first-degree murder after a woman's body was found along Highway 186 earlier this month. 

The woman, identified as 53-year-old Tonia Tram Tran was found off of the highway in Franklin County on Aug. 10 wrapped in a comforter described as having a "hummingbird and flower print," according to court documents.

Investigators said Tran had been "battered and sexually assaulted."

On Aug. 24, Daniel Shue, the prosecuting attorney with the Twelfth Judicial District, announced that 60-year-old Maurice Richardson had been charged with first-degree murder for Tran's death.

The affidavit for Richardson's arrest explains that after Arkansas State Police investigators were able to identify Tran by the serial number on a breast implant, they found she had moved to Fort Smith from California "within the past two months" to move in with her boyfriend, identified as Richardson.

Tran and Richardson allegedly had been living in a duplex off of North 41st Street and her minivan with California tags was still parked outside the home.

On Aug. 20, police executed a search warrant for the duplex and found that Richardson "had moved another Asian female into the residence," the document said. "There was a brand new mattress in the residence, as well as runners in the house that exactly matched the hummingbird/flower pattern on the comforter/blanket found around the victim."

"I would've never thought any of this period," said Adrian Gonzalez who lives nearby.

According to investigators, who noted in the affidavit that the "new girlfriend" who "bears a marked resemblance to the victim," was allegedly wearing a ring and told police that she and Richardson were getting married, despite knowing him for three days.

When investigators searched Tran's minivan, they found blood "in a pattern indicating that a body was dragged out of the van," the affidavit said.

"Detectives we're lined up here," said Adrian, pointing away from his duplex. "They were taping off cars, tow trucks were pulling in, pulling cars away."

During the course of the investigation, police were told that Richardson had been "working on another residence in the neighborhood." After searching that address, police said they found a bloody mattress, citizen paperwork for Tran, and a bag of her clothing.

"It's wild to think that if the wrong things would've happened, you know, that could've been anyone of us," said Adrian.

Richardson is being held on a $500,000 cash-only bond.

According to police, Richardson has four previous convictions, including two felonies related to promoting prostitution and one for possessing a firearm as a felon.

We'll continue to follow this story as we gather more information.

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