A federal indictment was filed Tuesday against a man for allegations he killed a woman and left her body in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge last week.
Investigators said he confessed to bludgeoning the woman to death with a brick.
Travis D. Smith, First Assistant U.S. Attorney, Western District of Oklahoma, sent The Constitution a copy of the criminal complaint issued Tuesday.
Tevin Terrell Semien, 28, is identified as the suspect accused of the first-degree premeditated murder of the woman, according to the affidavit in support of application for a search warrant.
Although not identified by investigators as the victim, family members have identified Karen Connywerdy Smith, of Lawton, as the woman. She is a member of the Comanche Nation.
In a statement from the FBI, the victim is described as being in her mid to late-60s with dark/gray hair. She is 4 feet, 11 inches tall and weighs 90 pounds. She also is missing her right index finger and half of her right middle finger. She may have been diabetic.
The woman was seen lying about 25 feet off of Oklahoma 49, just inside the east entrance to the refuge, around 1 p.m. May 17. The victim appeared to have suffered bludgeon wounds to her face and head, according to the affidavit.
During a search of the woman’s home at 3318½ SW 6th by an FBI forensics team on Friday, investigators discovered blood consistent with a violent struggle, Special Agent Jesse Stoda stated.
The home is located on trust land identified as an Indian allotment and, therefore, under jurisdiction of federal investigators.
The woman’s vehicle, which was missing, was seen by law enforcement Sunday driving south of Dallas, Texas, and law enforcement attempted a stop. The vehicle, instead, attempted a high-speed flight before crashing into a lake. Semien and another person tried to flee but were taken into custody, the affidavit states.
At first, Semien denied involvement in the woman’s death but eventually admitted he’d killed her, the affidavit states. He said the other person arrested, his girlfriend, is a relative of the victim’s.
Semien told Stoda his girlfriend asked him to kill the woman because she was angry with the victim, according to the affidavit. He said he wasn’t sure she was serious at first but that he eventually agreed to do it. The girlfriend has not been charged.
Semien told Stoda he bludgeoned Smith to death with a brick, put her body in the trunk of the vehicle and disposed of her body in the refuge, the affidavit states.
Semien is serving a five-year suspended sentence following a December 2022 conviction in Comanche County to a count of conspiracy, Oklahoma Department of Corrections records indicate.
In custody of the Navarro County Jail, Texas, Semien is facing between life in prison to death if convicted as well as a $250,000 fine. He is awaiting extradition back to the Western District for formal charges.