The former California fire battalion chief who’s the target of a massive manhunt reportedly tried to reconcile with his estranged wife two days before he is suspected of murdering his fiancée.
Orville “Moe” Fleming, 55, has been on the run since allegedly fatally stabbing Sarah Douglas, 26, in their Sacramento home, investigators said. Her body was found on May 1.
In an interview with KXTV, ABC News’ Sacramento affiliate, Fleming’s estranged wife said that two days before Douglas’ killing, Orville Fleming sent her text messages asking her to reunite with him.
“He was saying, I want my family back. Come get me. Come pick me up,” Meagan Fleming said.
She refused, and she said his last text message to her was the most disturbing. Sent at 2:31 A.M., just hours after Douglas’ death, it said: “You should have came (sic) and picked me up. :(”
Sheriff’s deputies were searching the vast California wild lands, where they said Fleming might be hiding. He has considerable outdoor skills, and they believed he was armed and using his special set of keys to gain access to gated roads and trails.
“We know he is an educated man and people have characterized him as intelligent,” said Detective Brian Meux of the Sacramento County Sheriff Department’s homicide bureau.
Douglas’ family described her relationship with Fleming as combative and said she considered leaving him just days before her murder.
Stephanie Douglas was on the phone with her sister late on the night of her death and she said she heard arguing.
“The last thing I heard was she screamed, and it was a shocking scream, and he took the phone away – but I did not think I would be going to her house the next day to find her like that,” Douglas said.
Fleming’s fire department truck was found abandoned just a few miles from the crime scene. It reportedly had blood on the steering wheel.
Fleming — who was a 24-year veteran of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection — may have been picked up by an escort he contracted through a website, investigators said.
“The most likely scenario is someone picked him up in a vehicle,” Meux said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.