A former elected city official, half of a "well-loved" Florida couple with deep roots to their Lakeland community, was killed along with her husband in what police say appears to be a robbery by a suspect who now is under arrest.
Edie Yates Henderson, 67, served on the Lakeland City Commission for three consecutive four-year terms ending in 2018, the City of Lakeland posted on its Facebook page.
She and her husband, attorney and real estate investor David Henderson, 63, were co-owners — along with their two sons and another business partner — of the city's historic luxury Terrace Hotel, which they purchased this past August, reports The Ledger newspaper.
The couple's bodies were discovered by police Tuesday in their lakefront home, after their son reported he'd been unable to reach his mom by text and then went to the residence and found it ransacked, police said.
Both victims were stabbed to death, Chief of Detectives Sam Taylor said at a news conference Thursday.
The couple's loss is an "unspeakable tragedy," he said. “The crime scene, as you can imagine, was absolutely horrific."
Police alleged that Edie was attacked and killed Tuesday morning while her husband was out of the house getting breakfast, and that David was stabbed after he returned home and went looking for her. Taylor said Edie's breakfast was still sitting on the kitchen table when police arrived.
The suspect, Marcelle Waldon, 36, was arrested Wednesday night at a Lakeland motel.
In a statement, police said, "It is believed that the suspect's initial intent was robbery based on evidence. LPD reported that there were no signs of forced entry; the homicides appear to be a random act and the suspect does not seem to have any ties to the Hendersons at this point in time but the investigation is ongoing."
Police allege the suspect stole a vehicle from the house, and later set it on fire.
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An associate of the suspect led police to Waldon, and said he'd seen Waldon with jewelry and other items allegedly taken from the Henderson home, said Taylor.
“These were two folks that are very well-loved," he said. "They went to Lakeland High School, graduated from Lakeland High School, obviously a city commissioner. She has ties in the community so this is, this is a gut punch. This hurts.”
The couple were killed in a home that Edie Henderson and her first husband, Steve Baylis, who died in 2010, had built on Lake Morton from architectural designs drawn up by a neighbor. The two had met as classmates at Lakeland High School, where she served as student council president and he was the vice president, and later ran an accounting and financial planning firm together, according to The Ledger.
Edie and David Henderson married in 2012. They had one adult son, Todd, from Edie's first marriage, and another, William, from David's first marriage.
"Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to the friends and families of Edie and David," the City of Lakeland said in a statement.
Waldon is being held in the Polk County jail on 11 charges, including two counts of first degree murder for which no bond amount is listed, confirms PEOPLE. Additional charges include armed burglary with assault/battery, robbery with weapon, tampering with physical evidence, arson, attempted arson, kidnap with intent to inflict bodily harm, and grad theft.
It could not be determined whether he had an attorney or had entered a plea to the charges against him.
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