Sarah Brooke Gonzales McLinn was in Bishop, Texas — a small town near the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles from the Mexican border — the same day she failed to appear for dinner with family in Topeka, according to law enforcement there.
Lt. Robert Morales, of the Bishop, Texas, Police Department, told the Journal-World that police there were contacted by investigators from Lawrence after the 19-year-old Lawrence woman borrowed a phone from a gas station clerk and called "back home to somebody who alerted the department there."
Morales said McLinn stopped at two gas stations in Bishop — about 900 miles south of Lawrence — on Jan. 15. Family and friends said that they had not heard from or seen McLinn or Harold Sasko, the 52-year-old man McLinn is accused of killing, since Jan. 14.
McLinn borrowed a phone from clerks at both gas stations, Morales said, and one of the two gas stations captured her on video, the contents of which Morales said Bishop police sent to Lawrence, where police here confirmed it to be McLinn.
Morales said he didn't know how long she was in Bishop or what she was doing there; nor did he know where she was going when she left town. McLinn was arrested Saturday at Everglades National Park in Florida after a park ranger ran the license plates of the 2008 Nissan Altima she was illegally camping in after hours and discovered that it, and its driver, were on a national registry. The car belongs to Sasko.
McLinn was handed over to United States Marshals on an unrelated federal drug charge and will appear in court this morning.
On Tuesday, McLinn's attorney, Carl Cornwell, told the Journal-World that he expected the drug charge to be dropped and has advised McLinn to waive her right to an extradition hearing so that she can return to Douglas County as soon as this week. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson has charged McLinn with first-degree murder and accused her of killing Sasko on or around Jan. 14 with an "edged instrument" that investigators now have in their possession.
Linda Friar, an Everglades National Park spokeswoman, said that "weapons were found" in addition to an undisclosed controlled substance when McLinn was found after 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. She had been living with Sasko in the 2900 block of West 26th Street since 2012 and once worked for him at one of the three CiCi's Pizza restaurants he owned.