MARTIN COUNTY -- A 42-year-old man was arrested Thursday on charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping in the case of Andrea Parsons, a 10-year-old Port Salerno girl who has been missing since July 11, 1993.
Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder announced late Thursday afternoon that Chester Duane Price, a former Martin County resident most recently living in Haleyville, Ala., was indicted by a grand jury and arrested. He is being held at the Martin County Jail without bond and is scheduled to have his first court appearance at 10:30 a.m. Friday before County Judge Darren Steele via video conference from the jail.
Price had been invited by the State Attorney's Office to testify to the grand jury and returned to Stuart voluntarily.
Chester Price. ( Photo courtesy Martin County Sheriff's Office).
Andrea disappeared after buying penny candy and chips at Bucky's Port Salerno Grocery store, about two blocks from her home. At 6:10 p.m. she waved to people she knew in a car — the last time anyone saw her.
"Tragically, at this time," Crowder said, "(Andrea's) body has not been recovered."
Crowder said that for the past 19 years the sheriff's office has conducted "an intense investigation into Andrea's disappearance (and) ... shared the tears shed by our community as they have tracked down hundreds of investigative leads."
In 2011 Crowder assigned a new team of detectives to the case for a "fresh set of eyes to shake things up and develop new leads."
The team developed enough evidence to bring to the State Attorney's Office, Crowder said, adding that he couldn't give specifics because of the ongoing investigation and the desire to find Andrea's body.
"More arrests may follow," Crowder said.
Crowder described Price as a convicted felon with an criminal history dating back to 1991 with arrests for cocaine possession, assault, sale of controlled substance, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and violation of a domestic violence injunction."