Former assistant to Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, found dead in Dallas apartment

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, mourned the death of her former personal assistant Friday, two days after Dallas police announced the arrest of a suspect charged with her murder.

“Jenean was loyal, hardworking, beautiful and fun and my heart breaks for her family and friends,” the duchess, also known as Sarah Ferguson, said in a post to her social media pages.

On Monday afternoon, officers responding to an unspecified call for service found Jenean Chapman, 46, dead inside an apartment in downtown, the Dallas Police Department said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded her death was a homicide, according to police. Authorities did not release any additional details about how she died.

Also that day, a suspect, James Patrick, 48, was arrested by University of Texas police in Austin in connection with Chapman’s killing, police said.

Patrick was expected to be charged with murder, Dallas police said in a statement released Wednesday.

He remained jailed in Travis County Friday on $100,000 bond, according to inmate records.

A possible motive was unclear, and it wasn’t clear whether the suspect retained legal counsel for the case. The public defender’s office in Travis County did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Relatives told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth that Chapman and Patrick had been married a few months and had been in a rocky relationship for years.

“We were shocked because before that it was an on-and-off relationship,” sister Nicole Marshall told the station. “It was rocky, we were aware of that.”

Ferguson mourned Chapman’s death on social media Friday. She shared an image of Chapman and herself in the back of a Lincoln Town Car and vowed to donate money to a crowdfunding effort that would cover transportation of her body to New York.

“I am shocked and saddened to learn that Jenean Chapman, who worked with me as my personal assistant many years ago, has been murdered in Dallas aged just 46,” Ferguson wrote.

She continued, “I heard from her just a couple of months ago and she seemed so happy.”

Sister Crystal Marshall said Chapman’s latest role had been as a senior vice president at Critical Mass, a digital marketing firm, and she’d also worked at music company Def Jam. She was planning to embark on a new journey and start her own business, Marshall told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.

Chapman was the definition of an “independent Black woman,” she said.

“We’re in a state of shock,” Nicole Marshall told the Dallas station. “Definitely feel blindsided. We’re trying to be a support system for our mother, but it’s just a really hard time.”

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