Two men suspected in the disappearance of Sidney teacher Sherry Arnold have been identified as residents of Parachute, Colo. — like Sidney, a town with major oil and gas development.
Lester Vann Waters Jr., 43, is originally from Florida, where he worked in construction and has an extensive criminal record.
A former roommate and co-worker of the suspect in Florida said Waters had worked in construction and roofing before leaving the state more than a year ago.
Kenneth Forbes of Sebastian, Fla., said Waters “worked hard and partied hard” — and had regular run-ins with local law enforcement. Forbes said he never knew Waters to be violent, but acknowledged that it’s been seven years since he last saw him.
“We made money and he partied real hard. That was his main goal — and girls,” Forbes said. “I know that he was wild, and I know that we partied a hell of a lot in our years. But there was never any violence in it. ... I’m not defending him or accusing him. I’m just saying that’s how he was.”
Waters was arrested more than a dozen times in Florida between 1986 and 2008, according to records from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
Charges against him included possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, sale of cocaine, petty theft, burglary, failure to pay child support, contempt of court, resisting an officer and multiple counts of driving with a suspended license.
Waters had several stints in jail in Indian River County and was incarcerated three times by the Florida Department of Corrections: from September 2002 to December 2003; August 2007 to March 2008; and March 2009 to August 2010.
In an application for a public defender filed in Williams County, N.D., Waters listed his home address as Parachute, Colo., where court records also show he had a driver’s license. He listed two children, ages 5 and 15, and said he was not married.
Michael Spell has at least two prior arrests in Colorado from 2007, on charges of drug possession, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, sexual contact without consent and, in a separate case, careless driving and driving without a license. Both cases were later dropped, although it was unclear on what grounds.
Spell’s application for a public defender suggests he is married with a 1-year-old son.