Couple arrested in Ariz. for Hickory murder did ‘odd jobs and panhandled for money,’ officials say

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 3:47 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2021 at 9:03 PM EDT
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HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - A couple arrested in Arizona for a murder in Hickory waived extradition Wednesday, and could soon be brought back to North Carolina to face charges.

The couple, on the run from law enforcement for months, left North Carolina for the opposite part of the country.

Eric Parker and Tangela Parker are accused of the murder of 51-year-old Phelifia Michelle Marlow, who police said was found shot inside TCS Designs on 9th Avenue NE in Hickory.

The Parkers, on the run from law enforcement for months, left North Carolina for the opposite part of the country where they were arrested in Arizona on Tuesday.

District Attorney Scott Reilly says his investigators met with police Wednesday about the case and said the arrests are not the end of it.

“Oh it’s just the beginning,” Reilly said.

WBTV received video of the Parkers’ court hearing in Arizona Wednesday.

The judge informed the couple they would be held without bond and North Carolina has 30 days to pick them up and take them back.

Once back in North Carolina, the couple will face a long legal process and the investigation itself is not over yet, Reilly said.

Hickory Police have not tried to interview the couple yet. That is expected in the coming days.

As to how and when the two will be brought back, officials would not say on Wednesday evening.

Investigators say the shooting happened after the employees got into an argument.

Exactly six months from the deadly shooting, the Parkers were apprehended in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday.

Tangela L. Parker was wanted for first-degree murder for the death of Marlow. Eric Parker was wanted for accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.

Federal Marshals told WBTV the couple changed IDs, stole car license tags, panhandled and did odd jobs and lived in their car for 11 weeks.

Eventually, they got enough money to rent a room in a house at the intersection of W. Salter Drive and N. 31st Avenue in Phoenix where they were eventually caught, thanks in part to a tip.

When Federal authorities moved in on Tuesday and announced who they were, the couple came outside with their hands up, officials said.

Officials did not say where the tip came from or how the tipster knew of their hiding spot.

The Parkers were living under the names Jason and Elizabeth Reardon.

Now, the Parkers are in jail in Phoenix waiting for a hearing and possibly extradition back to North Carolina.

‘Weight has been lifted’: Couple wanted for deadly shooting at N.C. furniture plant arrested in...
‘Weight has been lifted’: Couple wanted for deadly shooting at N.C. furniture plant arrested in Arizona(WBTV)

Tangela Parker is accused of killing her co-worker at TCS Designs on January 13. She and her husband reportedly drove off and disappeared.

The U.S. Marshal got involved, offering cash rewards for information that leads to an arrest.

How the couple got from North Carolina to Arizona is still under investigation.

Officials followed more than 30 leads that stretched over eight states. Interstate billboards, media, public outreach and rewards were offered for information on the Parkers.

“You feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders,” said Mak Marlow, the daughter of Phelifia Michelle Marlow. “You feel a sense of relief and comfort. In the back of my mind, I always knew this day was going to come, whether the day was supposed to pan out in this manner or not, I always knew in the back of my mind this day coming.”

The District Attorney says that since the Parkers decided to fight extradition, he will get a governor’s warrant, which normally gets the process moving no matter what, and would likely result in the two returning back to North Carolina.

There’s no timetable on all that yet.

“Don’t know what to say because never imagined Phoenix, Arizona,” said Justin Marlow, husband of Phelifia Michelle Marlow.

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