Couple arrested in Florida in connection with death of elderly Birmingham couple

Published: Aug. 10, 2018 at 11:00 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2018 at 8:26 PM CDT
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30-year old Kristen Gullion of Cullman
30-year old Kristen Gullion of Cullman

(WBRC) - A man were taken into custody in south Florida in connection to the deaths of an elderly couple found dead in their east Birmingham home.

30-year old Kristen Gullion of Cullman was arrested by Miami Beach police on Thursday. Zachary Phillips, 23, was arrested by Hollywood (Fla.) police on Friday.

Their arrests come nearly a week after police found the bodies of 68-year old Steve Holt and his wife, 67-year old Mary Holt in their home on 9th Court Circle. They say the couple's grandchild led them to the bodies. The child, believed to be about three years old, was reportedly covered in blood.

According to reports, Phillips has been charged with first-degree property theft, third-degree grand theft, trespassing and resisting arrest.

In the week following, Birmingham investigators remained tight-lipped about the case until Friday afternoon when they said the couple's gray 2012 Honda Civic had been located in Miami Beach. It's believed the car was stolen after their deaths.

According to a police report from Miami Beach Police, an officer spotted the Civic parked illegally on South Point Drive on Thursday.

The car had North Carolina tags, but when the officer conducted a routine computer check, he learned the vehicle was reported stolen out of Birmingham on Aug. 2, the day the couple was found dead.

The Miami Beach officer was also told Birmingham police requested they hold and seal the vehicle for processing because it was involved in a double homicide.

The report goes on to say that while the officer was completing his investigation, Gullion entered the vehicle and tried to drive away. The officer conducted a traffic stop. When the officer approached, the report says Gullion told him the car was her friend's car and that "in situations like this, her father told her to keep her mouth shut."

Gullion was arrested and made an initial court appearance Friday. She was charged with grand theft auto in Miami Beach. She also waived extradition back to Alabama on a receiving stolen property charge stemming from a Cullman County case.

Police believe Gullion is connected to Phillips, a second suspect in the Holt's death.

In a news release, Hollywood say early Friday morning, their officers first spotted Phillips driving a Ford Mustang that was reported stolen out of Miami Beach.

They spent several hours trying to locate and engage the vehicle. Then shortly after noon, they decided to use a program that reads license plates. That helped them locate the vehicle again.

However, when officers tried to stop the car, it sped off. Hollywood officers gave chase and eventually, the car crashed into a street sign at Dixie Highway and Roosevelt Street. A woman named Vivian De La Rosa Toniana was driving the car and was immediately arrested on the scene.

Phillips, who was the passenger, hopped out and began to run. That's when Hollywood police call in their SWAT team K9 unit.

A short while later, that K9 officer found Phillips hiding in a front yard. He was bitten and taken to the hospital.

Birmingham police homicide investigators are currently in Florida gathering additional information on the case.

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