PORT BOLIVAR — Sheriff’s deputies Thursday arrested the father of one of the two women found dead outside a Port Bolivar convenience store last week.
Houston resident James Larry Cosby, 46, was charged with two counts of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair a human corpse in connection with the deaths of his daughter, Britney Cosby, and Crystal Jackson, both 24.
Cosby is being held in the Galveston County Jail on bonds totaling $500,000.
The investigation into the double homicide is ongoing, and the charges against James Larry Cosby may be upgraded to capital murder, Sheriff Henry Trochessett said.
Both women were killed sometime between March 6 and 7:45 a.m. March 7, when a beer deliveryman found their bodies near a metal garbage container outside a Port Bolivar convenience store, about a mile from the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry, according to the sheriff’s office.
Britney Cosby died of blunt force trauma. Jackson was shot to death. Officials are awaiting toxicology reports on the bodies, Trochessett said.
Authorities have not confirmed a motive in the killings. Detectives have said the two women were in a relationship, but it’s unclear whether the double homicide would be considered a hate crime.
Some of the slain women’s relatives, including James Larry Cosby, attended a vigil near Cosby’s home in the Sunnyside subdivision of Houston on Wednesday.
While interviewing Cosby at his home Wednesday evening after the vigil, detectives saw “blood and other evidence” that led them to suspect he may have been involved in his daughter’s death, Trochessett said.
The sheriff’s office is treating Cosby’s home as a “secondary crime scene,” and it may be where the two women were killed before their bodies were driven to Port Bolivar and dropped off, Trochessett said.
Investigators obtained a warrant to search the home, and Cosby was brought to Galveston for further questioning, he said.
A judge signed the warrants for Cosby’s arrest at about 4 a.m. Thursday morning, Trochessett said.
Cosby’s criminal record includes two convictions for unlawfully carrying a weapon, according to Harris County court records.
In 1994, Cosby was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman, and in 2011, he was sentenced to two years for failing to register as a sex offender, according to court records.
Cosby was released from prison in October, Trochessett said.
On Sunday, the sheriff’s office released a composite sketch of a “person of interest” in the investigation, a man who authorities said was last seen with the two slain women.
Cosby’s appearance bears some similarities to the man depicted in the sketch, Trochessett said.
“He could have altered some of his facial features, as far as hair and things like that,” Trochesset said.
Deputies are still searching for Britney Cosby’s vehicle, a silver 2006 Kia Sorento with gray trim and paper plates.
It’s likely that James Larry Cosby had access to his daughter’s vehicle, but he has so far been uncooperative with investigators, Trochessett said.
Trochessett said the families of Britney Cosby and Jackson were probably “shocked” by James Larry Cosby’s arrest.
Britney Cosby’s grandmother, Patricia Nixon, said at a vigil in Port Bolivar on Tuesday that her granddaughter was well-liked by everyone she met and had hoped to enroll in college, possibly to study nursing.
John Cooks, Jackson’s uncle, said Tuesday that his niece was close with her family, particularly her 5-year-old daughter.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 866-248-8477 or Galveston County Crimestoppers at 409-763-8477.