Nov 22, 2014

Suspect arrested in socialite murder

Additional arrests possible?

Oxonians were shocked by the arrest of a popular local pharmacist in the October 30 murder of socialite Kelly Moran.

Lorraine Estrada, 39, was taken into custody yesterday at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department following an extended interview with the investigating detectives.

Yoknapatawpha County assistant district attorney Russell Moran discovered his wife's body when he returned home from work that Thursday evening in October. Initially, Kelly Moran was thought to have been the victim of a burglary gone wrong, but subsequent investigation cast doubt on that theory of the crime.

The case against Estrada includes both physical and testimonial evidence, according to Elizabeth Jones, information officer for the department. However, Jones declined to provide any details about what implicates Estrada in the death of her friend.

Jones also would not comment on Estrada's alleged motive but said investigators do believe they know what led to the killing.

DA's office "gratified"

At a brief press conference this morning announcing the arrest, assistant district attorney Calvin Dollarhide said, "This has been a difficult case not only for my colleague Russell Moran, who lost his beloved wife in such a brutal way, but for all of us in the Yoknapatawpha County law enforcement family. We are gratified that the sheriff's department has this cold-hearted killer in custody. Now the healing can begin for Kelly Moran's loved ones, friends and neighbors."

Dollarhide said Estrada will face charges for premeditated murder in the Moran killing and acknowledged that additional charges are possible.

Reached by phone, Russell Moran said he was thankful for the the support he's received from the community but declined to comment on the arrest.

Friends and acquaintances stunned

Pharmacist and murder suspect
Lorraine Estrada
Employees at the pharmacy where Estrada worked expressed surprise at her alleged involvement in a murder. "Lorraine is a wonderful, kind woman and an excellent pharmacist. She takes a personal interest in the well-being of all the pharmacy customers," said clerk Megan McDowell. "I can't believe she'd be involved in even hurting another person, much less killing someone."

By all accounts, Kelly Moran and her alleged killer, Lorraine Estrada, were close friends who socialized with each other regularly.

"They were here every week for karaoke," said a Rooster's Blues House employee who asked not to be named. "They were as thick as thieves, laughing and singing and having cocktails together week in and week out. I can't begin to guess what could've happened to make Lorraine do something like that."

"The sheriff's department usually does a good job, but this time I think they got it wrong," chimed in Rooster's patron Yvonne Boyd. "I saw Lorraine and Kelly here together all the time. There's no way Lorraine did what they say."

But not everyone believes in Estrada's innocence. "I know both of these women very well, and let me tell you something," said mutual friend Patricia Lee, "Lorraine's always been kind of a stick-in-the-mud, but Kelly was a rebel in her own way. I'm not at all surprised things finally came to a head between them."

"I am surprised that Lorraine's the one who came out on top though," Lee added. "Kelly must've made her really mad for that to happen."

Co-conspirators yet to be revealed?

A source close to the investigation told Crime Beat exclusively that detectives were also interrogating a second suspect at the same time as Estrada was being questioned before her arrest.

According to this source, it is possible that investigators are looking at one or more additional people who could have had some involvement in the murder of Kelly Moran.

When reached at the sheriff's department for comment, Jones said she would not comment on rumors but refused to confirm or deny the possibility of additional participants in the Moran murder.

A preliminary hearing for Lorraine Estrada is scheduled for November 24, 2014.
 

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