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Man accused of killing wife in Clay County caught at Jacksonville home

Kenneth Poythress Jr. also injured wife's mother and teen niece, deputies say

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – A 36-year-old man accused of killing his wife, injuring her mother and harming her teenage niece Sunday afternoon in Argyle Forest was captured Wednesday at his Westside Jacksonville home, Clay County deputies said.

Kenneth Leonard Poythress Jr. was taken into custody about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. Authorities thought he might return there but said they weren't sure when so they had been watching the home and were alerted to his return when he set off the alarm.

"They started staking out the house Sunday evening. On Monday, they raided the house -- SWAT team members and undercover police officers," said neighbor Garrett Waters.

WATCH: Neighbor of murder suspect speaks

Poythress is accused of killing his wife, 34-year-old Curtishia Poythress, at a home on Heron Nest Point, and driving off in her car.

The 2008 Honda Accord was recovered from the garage at the home where Poythress was arrested, deputies said. Sheriff Darryl Daniels said Poythress was taken into custody without incident.

“For this individual to seek solace in Duval County and think that the long arm of the law couldn't reach out that far, I don't care if that person laid their head in the pits of hell, then we'll go down and kick the gates of hell open and come and get him, if you try to run from the long arm of the law,” Daniels said. “One less murder suspect is on the streets of Northeast Florida.”

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said it's not uncommon for suspects to eventually return to a place they know.

"They may know the home is under surveillance, but they're in such an emotional state that they're not always thinking, or just want to get back and try to apologize or, maybe, explain themselves, and sometimes they do come back to the home or go to a residence where police are looking for them," Smith said.

When deputies responded to the Heron Nest Point home at 1:45 p.m. Sunday, they found Curtishia dead, her mother injured and a teenage girl with minor injuries, the Sheriff's Office said.

Poythress was wanted for one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and armed burglary.

“A family has been totally disrupted, a neighborhood has been totally disrupted over one action from one individual who chose to take the life of somebody else,” Daniels said. “That's totally unacceptable.”

Antonio Hood, Curtishia's father, told News4Jax that he and his granddaughter went to the store Sunday and when they returned home, he saw Poythress leaving the house. Inside, they found Curtishia had been killed and Hood's wife and Curtishia's niece had been injured.

“We saw him take off in the car, but we didn’t know it was him at the time. I thought it was my daughter. He took my daughter's car,” Hood said.

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That car was returned Wednesday to Clay County as part of the investigation.

Hood said Poythress and his daughter had been separated for a year, but Poythress had never been violent toward the family. He said Poythress drove to the Heron Nest Point home in his own vehicle, which he left at the scene when he took off in his wife's car.

Poythress has a previous criminal history in Duval County, including arrests for battery, sexual assault, making threats and soliciting for prostitution.

The arrest for making threats involved an incident in which Jacksonville police said Poythress threatened to kill his brother and his brother's family. The incident report for that case indicated that Poythress' brother suspected that Poythress suffers from mental illness.

Daniels was flanked at Wednesday's news conference announcing the arrest by representatives from domestic violence shelters Quigley House and Hubbard House.

“If you are a person living out in domestic violence conditions or in hostile living conditions, don't be afraid to walk away from that and seek shelter in a safe place, so that situations like this can be mitigated,” Daniels said.

To contact Hubbard House, call 904-354-3114. To contact Quigley House, call 904-406-0885

Deputies said there were no previous domestic violence reports between Curtishia and Poythress in Clay County.


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