Adrianne Robert (Facebook photo)
CLEARWATER, Florida - Detectives say a woman found dead in her Clearwater apartment back on July 14th was raped and murdered by a transient who followed her home after a night out at Clearwater's Diamond Dolls strip club.
Investigators say 29-year-old Adrianne Robert was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in the early morning hours after leaving the club on her own. Late Wednesday, sheriff's detectives announced the arrest of 23-year-old Thomas Frederick, who was also at the club the night of the murder.
Investigators believe Robert and her longtime roommate, Jay Leffue, were celebrating their last night living together and had been drinking when the two decided to walk to Diamond Dolls about a mile and a half from the apartment they shared. Sheriff's detectives say the two arrived around 10:00 p.m. and struck up a conversation in the bar area with Thomas Frederick, who neither knew.
Around 1:30, investigators say Adrianne decided she was ready to leave and walked home on her own because her roommate wanted to stay for another lap dance.
Leffue arrived home around 3:15 to find the bathroom door closed but no sign of Robert. When he opened the door, investigators say he found his roommate dead on the floor, suffering a stab wound to the chest, and immediately called 911.
Robert was later pronounced dead.
Sheriff's detectives investigating the death discovered signs of a struggle and Robert's bright orange Jeep missing, along with a cut out section of sheet from Adrianne's bed.
Detectives carefully reviewed surveillance video from Diamond Dolls and determined the man Robert and her roommate met at the bar also left around the same time. The video showed him arriving hours earlier around 5:00 in a taxi cab. Using the taxi information, detectives were able to track down a cell phone number Federick used to call the cab company. That same cell number was already in a crime database from a suspicious persons case filed by the Clearwater Police Department and belonged to Thomas Frederick, the same man who Robert and her roommate were talking to at the bar.
Detectives say they used the information to locate Frederick, immediately setting up around the clock surveillance. They eventually obtained DNA evidence from a discarded cigarette he threw to the ground to link him to DNA evidence found on Robert's mattress and taken from vaginal swabs at the crime scene.
The DNA match came back Wednesday and was enough to have Federick arrested late this afternoon for murder. The sheriff's office says he has made admissions to detectives and provided information on the location of the murder weapon and missing section of sheet.