Lola Pershall Death: Grandson Reginald Gardner Accused in Killing; Cops Find Him in Miami Beach

Reginald Gardner Jr., who happened to disappear around the time his 88-year-old grandmother was found dead in her Mesa home, was arrested while strolling around Miami Beach on Friday, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Gardner, 43, faces a second-degree murder charge in his grandmother's death.

Lola Pershall's body -- which was in "stages of decomposition" -- was found in her home on April 18 after sheriff's deputies went there to conduct a welfare check. Her car and her grandson were missing.

The MCSO hadn't been giving out details on Pershall's cause of death, but the Sheriff's Office says today that it was a gunshot wound.

Pershall's Mercedez-Benz was found in Houston on April 19, but there was still no sign of Gardner at that point.

The Sheriff's Office initially said investigators just wanted to "confirm [Gardner's] safety," but a few days later, said they wanted to talk to him about his grandmother's death, adding that people should "NOT to attempt to contact or follow [him]."

According to the MCSO, Miami Beach cops were shown a flyer with Gardner's picture on it at the beginning of their shifts Friday, and one of the cops spotted him walking around.

An FBI task force and the U.S. Marshal's Service helped in finding Gardner, according to the Sheriff's Office.

MCSO spokesman Jeff Sprong told New Times a few days after Pershall's death that detectives didn't really know where he was but were leaning toward the Phoenix area, where Pershall was killed, and the Houston area, where her car was found.

The Sheriff's Office didn't immediately respond to New Times' request for more information.

UPDATE: An MCSO spokesman tells New Times he doesn't have information about a motive or how Miami came into play at this time.

In a statement, the MCSO says deputies found no signs of forced entry or signs of struggle at Pershall's home, where Gardner lived with her.

Gardner's still being held in Miami, and will be extradited back to Maricopa County to face a second-degree murder charge.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has something to say: "Our detectives did an excellent job investigating this brutal crime, which underscores the problems we face with domestic violence."

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley

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