Text about hitchhiker likely sent by alleged killer of Avinger man, sheriff says

Canton James Echols, 33
Canton James Echols, 33(Harrison Co. Jail)
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 5:29 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2022 at 10:55 PM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A suspect believed to be involved with the death of an Avinger man is now in custody.

Blake Edward Reddock, 31, was found unresponsive along Herschel McCoy Road Saturday at around 9 p.m. The manner in which Reddock was found indicated to the Harrison County deputies who responded that Reddock was the victim of a homicide, as he had been stabbed multiple times. An investigation was immediately initiated.

The vehicle was found burned up on Oscar Reagan Road. Fletcher said the suspect has residences on both this road as well as Herschel McCoy Road.

On Monday evening, Sheriff Brandon Fletcher said during a press conference that the suspect is Canton James Echols, 33, of Harleton.

On Monday evening, Sheriff Brandon Fletcher said during a press conference that the suspect is Canton James Echols, 33, of Harleton, and that he has been taken into custody in the Harrison County Jail. He has been charged with first degree murder.

Sheriff Fletcher said that one aspect of the investigation was that Reddock’s mother received a text from her son’s phone Saturday saying he had picked up a hitchhiker and had given him some gas money, and that he would see her after he dropped off the hitchhiker. She said that she sent him some replies, several that were “seen,” and then they stopped being delivered, as if his phone had been turned off.

The sheriff says that they believe that the suspect, Echols, not a hitchhiker, had sent that message to throw law enforcement off his scent as they investigated.

Echols was seen on video at a pawn shop on Saturday afternoon with Reddock, as well as on other surveillance videos around the area. Investigators are still looking for footage as they work to create a timeline of the murder of Blake Reddock. They ask that anyone who may have surveillance video or other information call the sheriff’s office at 903-923-4000.

Harrison County Sheriff’s deputies and vehicles were seen coming and going to the office all afternoon. Sheriff Brandon Fletcher said while they were heading to serve search warrants for Echols,

“One of our unit vehicles came across Canton Echols on a bicycle at 7:26 on Blackburn Road. As units moved in on him, obviously he was taken into custody,” he said.

All this after their office received a call Saturday around 5:36 p.m. about a vehicle fire on Oscar Reagan Road. While that was going on, at 7:04 p.m. a call came in about a body located on the side of Herschel McCoy Road, now identified as Blake Reddock.

“Rolling Blake over to see what his injuries were. It appeared that he had been stabbed several times,” Fletcher said. “We also learned that the vehicle fire, there was enough of the VIN left that they could run the VIN number from that location and it did come back to Blake Reddock.”

Through surveillance footage obtained by officials, Echols and Reddock were seen at Insta Cash Pawn Saturday around 3:40.

“We were able to identify Canton through him getting out of the passenger side of the truck, which was right in front of their camera in the window,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher said this morning a patrolman was flagged down by a man with a surveillance system on his residence that showed

“Blake Reddock’s vehicle going by with two occupants in it, which would have been Blake Reddock and Canton Echols, and it came back with one,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher said Reddock’s mother got a text from her son’s phone Saturday about Reddock picking up a hitchhiker that offered him money.

“It was sent to Reddock’s mother, from Reddock’s phone but we believe it was sent after he had been killed,” Fletcher said.

Two search warrants were also being served this evening for home on Herschel McCoy Road and Oscar Reagan Road, both were places Echols lived, according to Fletcher.