Warrants filed for phone records of Abilene murder victim's brother-in-law, sister
ABILENE, Texas - Multiple search warrants related to the murder of Abilene real estate agent Thomas Niblo were released to KTXS Monday, and one of them indicates that Niblo's brother-in-law and sister are being investigated for the murder.
Luke Sweetser, 45, was arrested last week for theft of a firearm, and Abilene police said the arrest was in connection with the murder investigation.
Niblo was found shot to death last Monday inside his home.
One of the warrants, which was filed on Dec. 12 but released to the public Monday, was for the phones and phone records belonging to Luke Sweetser and Ellouise Sweetser, Luke's wife and Niblo's sister. The warrant says police seek all of the data on the phones--including call logs, text messages, web history, Facebook messages, contact information, and stored electronic data--from Jan. 1 to Dec. 12.
That warrant says any and all evidence found in the phones is related to first-degree felony murder.
Another warrant was filed for a phone number whose owner wasn't identified. That warrant states police seek the data and phone records from Oct. 1 - Oct. 30.
Police also filed search warrants to look through computers, tablets, and other electronic devices that were recovered from Niblo's house at 3774 Woodridge Drive and Sweetser's residence at 1618 Sylvan Drive, and seized items that were in police possession.
Investigators seized electronic items and flash drives from several office suites inside a building at 104 Pine Street, according to another warrant. One of the flash drives was labeled as "Quicken Capstone," in reference to bookkeeping software. "Miscellaneous financial papers" were also taken from the building.
Among the warrants filed, a disturbing picture was painted of the crime scene with the list of items recovered from Niblo's house. A property and evidence document filed with a search warrant return showed the evidence documented by Abilene police officer Wallace McDaniel on Dec. 12.
Police found six spent casings from a .40 caliber gun inside Niblo's house, along with spent bullets and a .40 caliber pistol. Police also found blood on the mattress pad, mattress protector, and pillows.
One bloody pillow was found on the bed with a bullet hole in it, according to the evidence list. Mud was also on the floor near the bathroom.
Police seized other pieces of evidence, including pill bottles with one having a prescription listed for Cheryl Niblo. A machete was found, and police recorded a sample of dirt found on the machete.
The warrants also outline what police sought when they executed a search at a building on Mesquite Street last week. Police filed the warrant to search a Cabela's safe for several guns reported stolen by Abilene attorney Randy Wilson earlier this fall. Police recovered those guns, along with about a dozen others not listed in the initial warrant, according to return document.
Police also sought "bloody, muddy, or wet" footwear or clothing, along with .40 caliber ammunition, shell casings, or a .40 caliber handgun inside the safe. None of those items were recovered from the safe, but another warrant was filed for Luke Sweetser's shoes.
Luke remains held on a $400,000 bond for the theft of a firearm charge, though he requested a significant bond reduction Monday. Ellouise Sweetser has not been charged with any crimes.