Dollar Tree employees rattled by incident

The investigation of the Dollar Tree robbery, kidnapping, and murder attracted regional attention, including from Memphis TV station WREG. Photo by Stan Morris | NEA Report

JONESBORO, Ark. – The employees of the Dollar Tree robbed Sunday night in Jonesboro had a lot on their mind Monday as they spoke with detectives.

With a satellite truck from News Channel 3 WREG in Memphis sitting in front of their store, the employees at Nettleton Avenue and Red Wolf Boulevard were constantly reminded of what took place there the evening before.

Just as the store was closing Sunday night and employees were heading home, a criminal decided to launch his attack. With a handgun clinched in his fingers, the crook ambushed employees outside of the closing store after 9:30 p.m. Sunday and demanded money.

However, not satisfied with this dastardly deed alone, the crook kidnapped a woman simply trying to make her way in life. Assistant Manager Loretta Ann ‘Laurie’ Pixler, 45, of Jonesboro, was abducted at gunpoint and forced to drive away in her own vehicle, a black 4-door 2004 Hyundai Accent.

The woman’s life ended later that evening in a tragedy.

Pixler was the victim of a pedestrian/vehicle accident on I-555 near the Payneway exit, close to Trumann. Her vehicle was also discovered in a ditch some distance away.

Her body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab Medical Examiner’s Office to determine cause of death. JPD’s Captain Lynn Waterworth told NEA Report on Monday the lab would be looking into what the suspect did to Pixler before she was killed – including if the suspect caused her injury before she was struck by a vehicle. Her vehicle was also escorted to the State Crime Lab for evidence processing by Crime Lab Investigators.

The suspect was described as a black male wearing a dark short sleeve shirt and gray pants with a red bandanna over his face.

While it is a story several outlets have shared across the region and even further out, employees of the Dollar Tree store in mention were back at work Monday, forced to continue their jobs. However, the look on their faces and their demeanor showed the effects of the night before.

Det. Shad Racy of JPD speaks with Dollar Tree management Monday afternoon

An NEA Reporter briefly spoke to management in the store Monday afternoon. While they were forbidden from speaking to the media by corporate authority, the reporter expressed condolences and well wishes. Both the employees, who were speaking to a JPD detective, were too sad to find words. One tilted his head down and appeared close to tears.

While they were back at work, it was obvious to anyone speaking with the staff that the atmosphere was one of sorrow, loss and mourning. Pixler’s senseless death has rattled Northeast Arkansas and while those who were closest struggle to cope with the loss, even those who knew her only from shopping interactions at the store had fond memories.

“She always had something sweet to say to me,” wrote Devin Robinson, of Jonesboro, on Facebook.

Jonesboro Police are continuing to follow up several leads and are also urging anyone who may have been in the vicinity at the time to report anything suspicious.

Anyone who may have information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Jonesboro Police Department at 870-935-5657 or they can report his location anonymously through Crimestoppers by calling 870-935-STOP (7867).

Photos by Stan Morris

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