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Arrest Made in the Death of a Southern University Co-ed

Published: Jun. 21, 2007 at 12:06 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2007 at 4:44 PM CDT
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Rhine Reynolds
Rhine Reynolds

It appears the search is over for the killer of a 20-year-old Southern University co-ed. A man with an arrest record all over the South has been charged in her death. The body of Sophie Arnold was found near a levee on the Mississippi River two months ago. WAFB's Jim Shannon reports on the arrest of 36-year-old Rhine Reynolds.

The body of 20-year-old Sophie Arnold was found in April. A young boy and his grandfather found Arnold following a fishing trip in the river. Now, Rhine Reynolds is facing the possibility of life in prison for the murder.

Sheriff Mike Cazes says, "He's been looked at for many, many months. He had extensive criminal history. He's never been convicted, but his criminal history reveals that he'd been charged several times with sexual crimes."

According to court documents, Reynolds had been arrested in New Orleans for aggravated rape in 2003, then a forcible rape charge in Iberville Parish that same year. Reynolds has also been arrested in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, and Pointe Coupee Parish on various charges. However, none of those were ever a murder charge.

Sheriff Cazes says, "He ran a trucking company from what I can gather from other investigations. The way he got his victim, he would advertise that he needed a secretary for work and eventually, and they got over there, it turned out to be something else. And, numerous times, that's what his motive was."

Reynolds is a suspect in several other rape cases, but Cazes says the parents of the victim, Sophie Arnold, were happy to hear an arrest was made. Sheriff Cazes says, "This is one we're gonna put to close. The parents, her parents, are very happy that we made an arrest."

Sheriff Cazes says he fully expects Reynolds will be charged in more sex-related crimes. DNA evidence linked Reynolds to the Southern University co-ed. When Reynolds was initially questioned, he tried to blame his friend, who fully cooperated with police.

Reporter:  Jim Shannon, WAFB 9NEWS