Woman killed in Palm City home identified; suspect in jail

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 6:06 PM EDT
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A woman who was found dead in the bedroom of a Palm City home has been identified.

Martin County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Christine Weiss said Thursday that the victim was identified as Lorri Wright, 49.

James Stephenson, 61, was arrested Wednesday at a Hooters in West Palm Beach. Deputies identified him as a murder suspect in Wright’s death.

Martin County Sheriff's Office Capt. Ruben Romero said deputies discovered the woman's body during a welfare check after Stephenson's friends alerted authorities that he told them of his crime.

"He was leaving voice mails and text messages for some of the people that he knew, some of his contacts," Romero said. "They grew concerned. They contacted us."

Investigators said Stephenson was a guest at the Palm City property and Wright was visiting him.

Friends of Wright describe her as having an "adventurous spirit" and a "sweet soul" who was the mother to two adult sons.

No motive for the killing was revealed, but Romero said Stephenson does have a lengthy criminal record.

"He has a length criminal history," Romero said. "Some of it is violent. Some of it is drug-related, some domestic. It's all over the board. This guy, for all we can tell, just kind of lived day-to-day and had a pretty lengthy past."

Stephenson faces a charge of second-degree murder. He was being held in a Martin County jail on a $1 million bond.

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