Brothers charged in Sanford store owner's murder

Carthage woman found stabbed in the neck Wednesday morning.
Two Sanford brothers are charged in connection with the murder of a thrift store owner, who used her store as a prison ministry.

Christopher Ryan Watson, 25, and Samuel Raymond Watson, 29, were arrested Thursday in connection with Carol Bowling Chacon's murder. The younger Watson, of Carthage Street, is charged with first-degree murder and auto theft. Samuel Watson, of Simpson Drive, is charged as an accessory.

Chacon, 54, was the owner of two Sanford thrift stores, including Project Help Thrift Store off Fields Drive. Authorities believe

Investigators say Christopher Watson stabbed her to death inside the store at some point Tuesday, but Chacon's body was recovered on Wednesday. Watson allegedly also took off in Chacon's 2002 Ford Explorer.

Christopher Watson was hired by Chacon about five months ago, through her prison ministry. Chacon would hire ex-offenders or have them volunteer in her stores.

On Thursday afternoon, her employee Michael Lyles kneeled down to pray in front of the store. He said Chacon gave him a second chance after he'd faced trouble of his own.

"She forgave me and taught me how to forgive," said Lyles. "She touched me in a (positive) way."

Lyles said Chacon fired Watson about three months ago, for unbecoming behavior.

"He would talk slick," said Lyles.

Roberto Cuevas, who owns the business across the street from Chacon, said Watson would often complain that Chacon would not allow him to build a website for her business, and that upset him.

Cuevas and many others in the community described Chacon as kind, forgiving and always willing to help others.

"I still can't believe it happened," said Cuevas, staring at the thrift store parking lot. "It's usually filled over there with cars on a day like today."

"People coming in, dropping things off or buying things...they have a lot of baby stuff in there. New families starting off short on cash, they find their crib or something over there, a baby seat."

Yellow roses were set along the fence in front of Chacon's business Thursday afternoon.

The Watson brothers are being held in the Lee County jail without bond.

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