More details surrounding a Greenbrier Junior High School instructor’s attack have been released as Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office investigators continue gathering evidence.
Search warrant documents reveal the white 2009 Jeep Wrangler that Edward Earl Bechtel was driving the night he allegedly attacked Pamela Nacke was up in flames when authorities arrived on scene.
Bechtel, 43, of Damascus faces first-degree battery and terroristic threatening charges after he reportedly beat the Greenbrier teacher when she stopped to offer him help late Friday night.
Recently filed documents show that Nacke noticed the Jeep “had wrecked out” and saw Bechtel and his girlfriend, Brandalyn Fisher, standing next to it along Highway 124 West in the Martinville area.
“While Pamela was trying to assist the male and female occupants of the Jeep, the male subject became enraged and attacked Pamela from behind and severely beat her, leaving Pamela with multiple broken bones, damaged tendons, and a concussion,” FCSO Investigator Bryan Adkinson wrote in a search warrant request.
Bechtel is also accused of throwing Nacke’s keys out into the woods after he attacked her.
After he stopped beating her, Nacke told police she saw headlights and proceeded to flag down an oncoming motorist as she crawled out of the ditch.
By the time she was able to call 911, Bechtel and Fisher had fled, according to the report.
As sheriff’s deputies headed to the crime scene, the Jeep “eventually became fully engulfed” in flames.
As of press time Thursday, sheriff’s officials had not released the cause of the fire.
“It seems as if the vehicle was on fire when deputies arrived,” FCSO spokesman Erinn Stone told the Log Cabin Democrat, noting authorities were unsure at this time of exactly what caused the fire “as this case is still under investigation.”
Nacke’s husband found a manila folder containing the Jeep’s paperwork approximately 20-30 yards from the crash scene. According to the report, he was out looking for his wife’s keys when he found the folder. At this point, authorities learned the Jeep belonged to Bechtel’s son, who allowed his father to use the vehicle.
After pinpointing Bechtel as a suspect, investigators set up a photo lineup. After reviewing several photos, Nacke positively identified Bechtel and Fisher, according to a report.
Once the woman positively identified the couple, investigators went to Bechtel’s residence along Longtree Drive and arrested him on Monday.
Bechtel was staying in a “portable building” and did not immediately answer the door when deputies “announced their presence.” However, after police saw him inside the building, “entry was made to take him into custody.”
Upon his arrest, Bechtel admitted to attacking Nacke, claiming he believed she was among a group of people that had run him off the road.
“When Pamela Nacke stopped to check on them, he thought she was one of the people chasing them and that this is why he attacked her,” the affidavit reads in part.
The Damascus man told police he was still wearing some of the clothes he wore when he reportedly attacked the Greenbrier instructor “because all of his other clothes were burned in the Jeep.”
Adkinson requested a judge sign off on a search warrant that would allow him to search the property for any “clothing, shoes, cell phones or any other items” that could be related to the investigation.
District Judge Chris R. Carnahan gave the investigator the OK to conduct the search. Authorities seized a hoodie, a pair of tennis shoes and a ball cap as evidence during the search.
Authorities also obtained a search warrant to collect evidence from the Jeep Wrangler, seizing items that identified Bechtel and Fisher.
Formal charges had not been filed against the 43-year-old Damascus man late Thursday.
Bechtel currently remains behind bars in the Faulkner County Detention Center in lieu of a $100,000 bond.