NewsPolk County


Couple in Polk County Jail to face additional murder charges in South Carolina

Posted at 2:50 PM, Mar 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-12 02:46:48-04

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said two people arrested after the brutal beating of a homeless man near Fort Meade are wanted in connection with three murders in South Carolina.

Christopher R. Taylor, 30, and Kristina Sluss, 36, are being held in the Polk County Jail. They were arrested in February, along with a third person identified as Christopher Taylor's brother, after the murder of 47-year-old Douglas John Bowling.

At the time deputies said Bowling's body was found February 19 near an orange grove south of Fort Meade.

At a news conference Saturday in Winter Haven, Judd said one of Bowling's hands were cut off during the attack. He said Christopher Taylor was responsible. 

Christopher Taylor was accused of providing false information to detectives during the investigation. He has been charged with Bowling's murder and tampering with evidence. Also charged in the case were Sluss and  Gary J. Taylor, Jr., 21, both of whom were charged with accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence.

Bowing and the three suspects were all from Winter Haven, and knew each other, Polk sheriff's officials said.

Before they moved to Florida, Christopher Taylor and Sluss were staying with Taylor's mother near the home of a South Carolina couple who was found dead in January, Judd said.

During the Polk County investigation, Christopher Taylor and Sluss gave information that connected them to the deaths of the deceased couple and another South Carolina man who was found dead at the home at the time, Judd said.

The Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office were investigating the deaths of Fred Richards, Francis Delancey Richards and Nathan Louis Poffenberger when they were contacted by the Polk County Sherifff's Office.

The three bodies were found at 630 Landrum Mill Road in Landrum, S.C., the morning of January 20.

Sluss and Christopher Taylor are being held in the Polk County Jail in connection with the three murders in South Carolina, Judd said.