Winston County Sheriff Rick Harris said several law enforcement agencies throughout the area had been searching for the suspect since the crime was reported on Memorial Day.
Harris said the suspect, 38-year-old Keith Allen Secrest, was spotted walking down the 2500 block of Duncan Road by an off-duty reserve officer for the Walker County Sheriff’s Office and then arrested by two on-duty deputies.
Though Secrest’s driver’s license listed his residence in Mobile, Harris said the suspect had been living with his aunt, Mary Ann Farley, on Winston County Road 41.
Harris said Farley was supporting Secrest while he recovered from a drug addiction, and investigators believe robbery was the ultimate motive for the crime.
According to Harris, Farley’s son discovered her body at around noon on Memorial Day. However, investigators believe the murder took place sometime during Saturday night or Sunday.
Responding to the scene were officers from the Winston and Walker county sheriff’s offices, the Arley Police Department as well as representatives from the Winston County District Attorney’s Office, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.
Harris said his office did not immediately alert members of the media to the crime because investigators believed Secrest was likely to flee the area.
Harris said Secrest stole Farley’s Toyota Tacoma pickup truck after the incident, which was recovered at a home off Fall City Road. He said investigators do not know why the suspect left the pickup truck and proceeded on foot.
Harris said he wants to thank all of the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation. He said the Walker County Sheriff’s Office dispatched a dozen officers to assist in the search for the suspect.
“Without that we couldn’t have narrowed down his location,” Harris said.
Walker County Sheriff John Mark Tirey said he and his staff were happy that they could help.
“We have always had a close relationship with surrounding counties, and we were just pleased that they contacted us so quickly after this occurred to give us a heads up,” he said.
The crime will be prosecuted by the Winston County District Attorney’s Office.