UPDATE APRIL 21, 2023
Saline County Circuit Judge Josh Farmer sentenced Lonnie Doyle Crigger, age 54, to 57 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction for Murder in the First Degree and two counts of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. Crigger was arrested in October, 2021 after Karen McFarland’s body was found in a shed on her property.
The following account is according to the Saline County Prosecutor’s Office:
The victim and Crigger had been involved in a relationship but were not involved at the time of the Murder. Crigger was residing with McFarland for a short period of time until he could find other accommodations.
They became involved in an altercation and Crigger demanded to see McFarland’s phone. When she refused, he went and got a gun belonging to McFarland and shot her twice. He then watched her as she died.
In an effort to keep the dogs from licking her blood, he rolled up her body in plastic and put it in a rug, sealed it with duct-tape and dragged her out to a shed where he left her. Crigger then cleaned the scene, took McFarland’s wallet, phone, guns and keys to her car. He left in McFarland’s 2011 Toyota Avalon.
Because McFarland did not report to work, or call in, and wasn’t in communication with anyone to let them know of her whereabouts, someone made a call to the authorities. Deputies with the Saline County Sheriff’s Department went to the residence in Hensley for a welfare check – around the 20000 area of Rebar Drive
Deputies found a letter addressed to Crigger taped to the front door of McFarland’s residence. He had missed an appointment with the Federal Probation / Parole Office earlier in the week. Soon after, a BOLO was issued for Crigger with a description of McFarland’s vehicle.
Later in the day, Detectives received a call from the Yell County Sheriff’s Office saying that they had received a tip. Someone that Crigger was in a hotel with said that Crigger confessed that he had just killed his girlfriend.
Detectives with Saline County coordinated with Yell County Detectives and Crigger was taken into custody and transported to the Saline County Sheriff’s Department where he later confessed to killing McFarland and leaving her body in the shed.
After the prosecutor read aloud the recitation of facts which included the above, Judge Farmer asked the defendant if that is what happened. The defendant stated, “That is exactly what happened.”
Prosecuting Attorney Chris Walton said, “This case involved many detectives, deputies and law enforcement agencies that worked tirelessly to find Mrs. McFarland. This was not the outcome that anyone wanted and we send our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. McFarland’s family. It was the intent of my office to make sure that Lonnie Crigger would never be able to commit such a vile act again. The defendant is currently 54 years old and we expect that he will never again be a free man.”
The State was represented by Carrie Robertson and Bobby Digby and Toney Brasuell represented Crigger.
ORIGINAL STORY OCT 25, 2021
A Saline County woman is dead and her boyfriend is charged with murder, according to Saline County Sheriff’s Office.
Karen McFarland, age 47, was reported missing on October 21st, 2021, by a friend and coworker. A deputy responded to McFarland’s residence on Re Bar Road in Hensley, Arkansas. The deputy noticed her vehicle was not there and nobody answered the door. Attempts to call McFarland’s phone went straight to voicemail. The reporting party was advised to contact the sheriff’s office with any further information.
A BOLO (be on the lookout) was issued for McFarland and her vehicle. McFarland was entered into the ACIC computer (Arkansas Crime Information Center) as a missing person.
On October 23rd, 2021, McFarland’s boyfriend Lonnie Doyle Crigger, age 53, was located in McFarland’s vehicle. He was arrested at that time for Felon in Position of a Firearm. After further investigation, Crigger was charged with McFarland’s murder.
McFarland’s body was located on her property. The body has been sent to the State Crime Lab for an autopsy. No further information will be released, as the investigation is ongoing.