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New details are coming to light about the Texas pair accused of murdering a teenager who was possibly pregnant.
Katelynn Nicole Stone, 16, was found shot to death in West Jefferson County on Sunday, leading to the arrest of Cody Arnold, 22, and a search for suspect Chelsea Ann-Marie Shipp, 24, as previously reported. Shipp was apprehended on Thursday, following public pleas from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, who feared she was still armed and dangerous.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office sent Oxygen.com a copy of the probable cause affidavit, painting a dark picture of an illicit love triangle and alleged statutory rape.
Stone was found dead at Cody Arnold’s Beaumont home after Chelsea Shipp’s friend, Brandy Moon, alerted authorities that Shipp had confessed to the murder, the affidavit alleges. When detectives arrived at Arnold’s address, he permitted them entry into his mobile home, where they discovered Stone’s body in a carpeted bedroom.
“The upper portion of the body was wrapped in a black garbage bag, and the lower portion was wrapped in a blanket,” Det. Brian K. Sain of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office wrote in the affidavit. “There was a shell casing in plain view on a pillow.”
Sain described Stone as the live-in girlfriend of Cody Arnold, who was arrested at the scene.
The probable cause affidavit goes on to detail the friendship between Shipp and Brandy Moon: the pair used to work together at the Latitude Adjustments cleaning company, where they cleaned vacation homes in Crystal Beach, Texas, and remained in contact since then.
According to Moon’s statement to investigators, Shipp and Arnold asked to go over to Moon’s house in Winnie, Texas, on Friday night. Shipp and Arnold brought Stone with them, staying for 10 to 15 minutes. Shipp had described Stone as Arnold's girlfriend, Moon said. However, Moon said she learned through a mutual acquaintance that Shipp and Arnold were also in a romantic relationship together.
Cody Arnold admitted to authorities following his arrest that he was in a relationship with Stone, the affidavit stated.
“Cody stated [Stone] was possibly pregnant and was only 16 years of age,” Sain wrote. “Cody Arnold advised that Chelsea was telling him he was going to get in trouble for getting her pregnant.”
According to Texas state law, the legal age of consent is 17, notwithstanding “Romeo and Juliet” provisions, which allow an exception if both parties are teenagers within a three-year age gap.
On Saturday, Shipp contacted Moon and asked if she could swap her white Dodge truck with Moon’s 2014 blue Nissan Maxima because Shipp said she “had some business to take care of,” according to the affidavit. When Shipp returned the car on Sunday morning, she appeared on edge and allegedly asked Moon to cover for her whereabouts.
“Hey, don’t forget, if anybody asks you, I was with you in Baytown, and Cody had your car,” Shipp told Moon, according to the affidavit.
Shipp then asked Moon to join her in her truck before finally telling her that she had gotten rid of Stone. When Moon inquired as to what she meant, Shipp allegedly said, "I shot her.”
“Chelsea made a shooting motion with two fingers as if she was shooting a gun and moved her thumb two times downward like she was firing a gun,” Sain wrote in the affidavit. “Brandy asked Chelsea, ‘Where is she? Is she okay?’ Chelsea stated, ‘He asked me to take care of a problem, and now he has to do what he has to do.’”
Moon told detectives Shipp regularly carried a silver gun. Cody Arnold also told authorities that she owned a .380 and black 9mm handgun.
Moon said she was advised by her father-in-law, a constable for Chambers County, to contact authorities.
Authorities later met with Moon’s nephew, Cody Lee Smith, who signed a sworn statement saying that Chelsea had confessed to murdering Stone with her own gun and asked for his help to get rid of the body, which he refused to do.
Shipp was apprehended at a Liberty Hill residence on Thursday following a multi-agency manhunt.
Officials have not confirmed Stone’s pregnancy, and the results of a postmortem examination are still pending. However, Stone’s potential pregnancy was referenced on Facebook by a woman reporting to be Katelynn Stone’s mother, as previously reported.
“My baby girl was pregnant,” wrote Mandi Michelle on Tuesday. “How do I even process this?”
Mandi Michelle returned to Facebook following Shipp’s arrest to address what she called the suspects’ “brutal, hateful heartlessness.”
“All I can say is it’s a cold world for such a beautiful soul to be taken. Where have these people gone so wrong to take my baby in such a brutal way?” she wrote. “Has the world been so bad to them for them to think it’s OK to take a life for such pathetic reasons?”
Shipp and Arnold are both charged with murder and remain at the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on $1 million bond. It is not clear from jail records if either one of the suspects has entered a plea or when they’re expected to appear in court.
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