Holbrook Mohr / The Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. -- A Mississippi law enforcement official said Tuesday that state investigators have talked with the FBI to discuss whether federal charges apply in the case of a dismembered Bourbon Street stripper.
Authorities say Margaret Sanchez and Terry Christopher Speaks, both of Louisiana, are suspects in the death of 22-year-old Jaren Lockhart, whose torso and other body parts were found on Mississippi beaches in June 2012.
Don Bass, the chief deputy of the Hancock County, Miss., Sheriff's Department, said Tuesday that state authorities had hoped to charge the suspects with desecrating a corpse, which would allow authorities to hold the two suspects while the investigation continues, but the Mississippi statute is vague and doesn't apply in this case.
Bass said investigators talked with the FBI this past week about expediting the forensic testing of evidence and whether federal laws could be used to charge the suspects with a crime.
"We're going to try to go a different direction with the help of the FBI," Bass said.
Bass said Speaks, 40, is in federal custody for failing to register as a sex offender. The Federal Bureau of Prisons website show he's being held in a facility in Otisville, N.Y.
Bass said Sanchez may have left Louisiana for Nevada or some other state, but that investigators should be able to find her when the time is right.
Investigators have said the two were seen with Lockhart on a surveillance video, leaving the club where she worked on June 6, 2012.
Lockhart's torso was found on the beach in Bay St. Louis, Miss., in June. Other body parts and pieces of clothing washed up later on beaches in the Mississippi cities of Pass Christian and Long Beach.
Authorities said Lockhart was identified, in part, by tattoos. She had been stabbed in the chest