December 2, 2015
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
14th Judicial District Prosecutor David Ethredge and Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery are announcing that the previously unidentified human remains found at the house fire at 447 CR508 have now been positively identified by the Arkansas State Medical Examiner’s Office as that of 71 year old Ladonna J. Rice. The identification was made late yesterday through DNA analysis by the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock.
As a result of this positive identification of LaDonna Rice, Prosecuting Attorney Ethredge is in the process of amending the charges on the three suspects, NICHOLAS IAN ROOS, AGE 24, ZACH TYLER GRAYHAM, AGE 23, and MIKAYLA JORDAN MYNK, AGE 20 to include a second count of Capital Murder.
The investigation is continuing. Any and all questions other than the information previously released are directed to the Prosecutor’s Office.
David Ethredge John Montgomery Prosecuting Attorney Baxter County Sheriff
Original Press Release Dated November 16, 2015
The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney today announced the arrests of and the filing of charges against three (3) Baxter County residents responsible for the deaths of 75 year old Donald Lee Rice and 71 year old Ladonna J. Rice of 447 CR 508 in Midway as a result of the still ongoing homicide and arson investigation.
These arrests were made possible due to information and tips being received from members of the public since the investigation began that were followed-up on by investigators. Multiple law enforcement agencies came together in a harmonious effort to investigate all leads and bring the persons responsible to justice. The integrity of the continuing investigation is of paramount importance, and therefore little specific or detailed information can be made public at this time.
As previously stated through press releases and a press conference last week, a fire was reported at Donald and Ladonna Rice’s residence at approximately 7:34 PM on Saturday, November 7th. At that time, authorities believed indications of arson existed and discovered that one of the vehicles belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Rice was missing from the residence.
The next morning, Sunday, November 8th, a 2015 GMC Sierra Denali pickup truck was found burned on Baxter CR 1 (a/k/a Denton Ferry Road) near Bruce Creek, also with indications of arson being involved. This truck was later determined to be the vehicle missing from the residence after it was eventually possible to obtain a vehicle identification number (VIN) in order to reveal the identity of the registered owner.
Approximately twelve investigators from the Sheriff’s Office and the Arkansas State Police began processing the crime scenes and handling leads and tips that began coming in. On Monday afternoon, November 9th, investigators found human remains in the debris of the burned house. The search continued, and additional remains were found on Tuesday.
These remains were sent to the Arkansas State Medical Examiner’s Office in Little Rock. The remains of Donald L. Rice have been positively identified at this time. Additional remains have yet to be identified. On Friday afternoon, November 13th, authorities were finally able to locate blood relatives of Ladonna Rice. DNA is being collected from these relatives in order to attempt to positively identify the other remains at the State Medical Examiner’s Office.
Many citizens have come forward offering dozens of tips or information about this case. Investigators spent hundreds of hours following-up on these by means of normal investigative protocols.
One of these tips led authorities to look for, find, and ultimately pick up two suspects during a traffic stop on Wednesday evening, November 11th. These suspects, identified as 24 year old Nicholas Ian Roos and 20 year old Mikayla Jordan Mynk, were brought to the Sheriff’s Office to be interviewed.
Nicholas Roos and Mikayla Mynk were jailed on charges related to a separate residential burglary on Baxter CR 7 (a/k/a Wildcat Shoals Road) and a commercial burglary at Dean’s Top and Canvas near Mountain Home that were not connected with the investigation into the death of Mr. and Mrs. Rice. They were not arrested or charged at that time with any offenses related to the homicide and arson investigation.
Investigators served a search warrant on the Mikayla Mynk residence on Baxter CR 709. During this search, items stolen from the Baxter CR 7 (Wildcat Shoals Rd) burglary and the Dean’s Top and Canvas burglary were found and seized, and items ultimately determined to have come from the Rice residence on Baxter CR 508 were also found and taken into evidence. Additionally, a search warrant was served on the vehicle that Nicholas Roos and Mikayla Mynk had been apprehended in.
A third suspect in the homicide and arson investigation was developed and picked up by investigators on Friday afternoon, November 13th. This person is identified as 23 year old Zach Tyler Grayham.
Investigators believe the suspects arrived at the residence on Saturday morning, November 7th, killed Donald Rice and Ladonna Rice, and then stole various items of personal property, including a large screen TV, from the residence before setting fire to the residence. The suspects then left the residence in the stolen 2015 pearl white GMC Sierra Denali truck that belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Rice.
Additional search warrants have been served for the purpose of collecting electronic evidence, and additional physical evidence will be delivered to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in Little Rock for processing.
Investigators met this morning and presented evidence to Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge. Mr. Ethredge decided that evidence indicated all three suspects were involved in the deaths of Donald and Ladonna Rice to varying degrees. All three suspects participated in a level and to an extent that allows them each to be charged with Capital Murder and other crimes under Arkansas law.
Although arrests have been made, the investigation is far from over in this case. We encourage anyone with information, no matter how small or trivial it may seem, to contact the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office.
NICHOLAS IAN ROOS, ZACH TYLER GRAYHAM, and MIKAYLA JORDAN MYNK are each being charged with Capital Murder, Arson, Aggravated Robbery, and other offenses. They are currently being held without bond in the Baxter County Detention Center. They will appear in the Baxter County Circuit Court on Thursday, November 19th, for appearance and arraignment.
The Sheriff’s Office wishes to convey its gratitude to members of the public who came forward with those tips and information. The public’s concern and involvement were instrumental in quickly resolving these crimes. The Sheriff’s Office also wishes to thank all of those law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and other government agencies that came together as a cohesive team to bring these three persons to justice. The Sheriff’s Office wishes specifically to thank the following:
Baxter County Sheriff’s Investigators and Deputies
Arkansas State Police – Criminal Investigation and Highway Patrol Divisions
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Wildlife Officers
Arkansas Department of Corrections – North Central Unit canine team
Mountain Home Police Department
14th Judicial District Drug Task Force
Gassville Police Department
Flippin Police Department
“Search Dogs South” – Canine Search Team from Mississippi
Baxter County Coroner’s Office
Alabama State Bureau of Investigations
Midway Volunteer Fire Department
Grover Township Volunteer Fire Department
Oakland-Promise Land Volunteer Fire Department
Baxter County Road and Bridge Department
/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff