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Police Capture Okla. Murder Suspect

November 25, 2003

LUFKIN, Texas (AP) _ A suspect in the murder of an Oklahoma couple who eluded police for weeks was finally arrested in Texas after he kidnapped another couple and the husband shot and wounded him, authorities said.

The capture of Scott James Eizember on Sunday brought a sense of relief to law officers who had searched in vain for the 42-year-old suspect. It was one of the longest manhunts in Oklahoma history.

Eizember was accused of killing A.J. Cantrell, 76, and his wife, Patsy Cantrell, 70, on Oct. 18 in Depew, Okla., in the northeastern part of the state.

He is also accused of beating Carla Wright, a neighbor of the Cantrells, and wounding her grandson, 16-year-old Tyler Montgomery, that same day. Wright’s daughter Kathy Biggs, Tyler’s mother, is Eizember’s former girlfriend, and authorities believe he had been stalking her.

Law enforcement agencies picked up Eizember’s trail Sunday morning after he was spotted by a volunteer at the Depew Methodist Church food bank.

The woman, Doyce Pitre, told deputies she was so frightened when she saw an armed man step out of a closet at the food bank that she left her keys in the door as she fled. The man took the keys and drove away in her car at about 9:15 a.m., officials said.

Eizember drove about 200 miles east, where he allegedly kidnapped an emergency room doctor, Samuel Peebles, 54, and his wife, Suzanne, 50, a registered nurse, near Waldron, Ark., Creek County, Okla. Deputy Michael O’Keefe said.

The couple’s son, Samuel Peebles Jr., said Eizember feigned an injury by ``lying in the road or along the road. It appeared obvious he was in need of something immediately. Once he was in the vehicle a new story came about.″

The younger Peebles said his father told him the suspect produced a gun near Texarkana and told the couple he wanted to go to Mexico.

The couple were forced to drive in their van about 300 miles south to East Texas, where the couple persuaded him to pull over so they could use a restroom, an Angelina County Sheriff’s Department news release said.

During the stop, the doctor managed to grab a pistol concealed in his van and shot Eizember, the statement said.

Eizember allegedly assaulted the couple, took their van and fled about 10 miles to Corrigan, Texas, where he stopped at a food store and asked for help with his wounds.

He had left by the time police arrived, but armed with a description provided by the store clerk, authorities stopped Eizember and took him to a hospital, where authorities learned he was wanted.

Wounded four times in the chest, Eizember was in stable condition early Monday at the Memorial Health System of East Texas.

Peebles said his father broke his thumb by jamming it the barrel of the gun. Eizember also allegedly hit both his of his parents in the head with the pistol before fleeing in their van. The couple was treated and released and were recovering at a hotel before returning home to Arkansas, their son said.

Peebles said it was common for his parents to stop and help people in need.

``The entire family considers them heroes,″ he said.

Update hourly