More real life invitation to death
This twisted trio had a truly sickening plan for their Christmas Day guest
The promise of sex was just a ruse – he’d formulated a sinister plan
January 2016…and the Reece family was growing increasingly worried about Christopher West, 39.
His sister and her husband hadn’t heard from him since December and they insisted that it wasn’t like Christopher to be out of touch with his family for so long – especially over the festive season.
‘He always made contact with us. Always,’ recalled his brother-in-law.
But the couple’s texts and Facebook messages remained unanswered.
Christmas came and went and Christopher’s family knew something was terribly wrong.
On 27 January, they called the police to report their loved one missing, and officers in Kingsport, Tennessee, began their search. On 17 February, the police discovered burnt human remains in an embankment located in the remote Cherokee National Forest.
Around two weeks later, an autopsy confirmed it was the body of Christopher West.
Their worst fears confirmed, his family was devastated.
And, for the investigators, this was no longer a missingpersons case. They were dealing with a murder.
But who had killed Christopher West? And why had his body been burned?
The detectives soon learned that Christopher had last been seen at an apartment complex in which an acquaintance of his, Krystal Lane, 25, lived.
When questioned by the police, Lane told them that Christopher had visited her briefly on Christmas Day but had left to run some errands and never returned.
But, as the detectives pushed Lane for further details, she began to crack under the pressure, and the awful truth came out.
Lane revealed that on Christmas Day she’d had two friends – Timothy Mceachern, 44, and Amanda Laforce,
28 – at her apartment.
But, instead of celebrating the season, enjoying Christmas dinner, the trio spent the day in a drug-fuelled haze.
They were taking synthetic ‘designer drug’ alpha-pvp – known as ‘gravel’ – as well as crystal methamphetamine.
Mceachern and Laforce were an item, but Lane told the police that Mceachern became agitated after Laforce got a text message from Christopher, a friend of hers.
In his highly intoxicated state, Mceachern flew into a jealous rage, demanded that his girlfriend message Christopher back and convince him to come over to Lane’s apartment to have sex with her.
But the promise of sex was just a ruse, as the furious Mceachern had formulated a sinister plan.
Amanda Laforce went along with her boyfriend’s demand, and Christopher readily agreed to head over for a festive fling.
When Christopher arrived, Laforce remained on the sofa, while Lane opened the door and welcomed him in.
‘Hi,’ smiled Laforce, as Christopher entered the room.
Just behind where Christopher stood was the kitchen – where Mceachern was waiting, wearing a ski mask and clutching a baseball bat.
He struck Christopher from behind with the bat and he fell to the floor, dazed and in agony.
Despite the mask, Lane said that Christopher recognised
‘I want to hear what their reason is to take someone’s life’
his attacker as Mceachern.
And for Christopher, the terrifying Christmas nightmare had only just begun.
Mceachern bound him tightly with duct tape, subjected him to a brutal beating.
In his drug-induced frenzy, Mceachern also choked Christopher and threatened him with a handgun as he pleaded for his life to be spared.
Mceachern then ordered Lane and Laforce to go out to his car and get some plastic cable ties.
The two women did as they were told, but their search of the car was unsuccessful.
When they came back into the apartment, they found Christopher dead on the floor.
Now the three of them had to dispose of his body.
As Boxing Day crept up on them, the wicked trio called a friend and persuaded him to come over. The man complied, and drove them to a local DIY shop to buy cloths, bleach, spray bottles and a fire log.
From there, Mceachern stopped at another store to shoplift some extra items, including bin bags.
Back at Lane’s apartment, they set about clearing up the gruesome mess.
Mceachern, Laforce and Lane frantically scrubbed down the apartment to remove any trace of evidence.
Then, while others were enjoying a relaxing Boxing Day, they heaved the body into the boot of their friend’s car.
The group set off in search of a secluded area, stopping at the Cherokee National Forest, Greene County.
Near the North Carolina State line, they found a remote embankment. Bundling the body of their victim out of the boot, they set fire to it in a final attempt to cover their tracks.
Christopher West’s charred body stayed hidden there, until he was finally discovered by the authorities in February 2016.
Kingsport detectives presented their findings to the County Grand Jury, and warrants were issued for the arrests of Lane, Mceachern and Laforce.
Lane was already in custody after her confession, and Mceachern and Laforce were soon tracked down. They were already in prison on unrelated theft charges.
Timothy Mceachern, Amanda Laforce and Krystal Lane were charged with first-degree murder and the abuse of a corpse.
Desperate for justice, Christopher’s family were on tenterhooks.
‘I want to look them in the eye,’ said his brother-in-law Robert Reese, ‘I want to hear what their reason is to take someone’s life.’
At court in September 2017, Mceachern pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder and abusing a corpse, as part of a plea agreement.
He was sentenced to 26 years in prison for second-degree murder and an extra six years on supervised probation for abuse of the body.
Krystal Lane pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree murder as well, and also pleaded guilty to abuse of a corpse, possession of the Schedule I drug alpha-pvp with intent to deliver, maintaining a dwelling for drug use, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Lane was sentenced to 25 years for the murder charge, and a total of almost 12 years for the other charges, including 11 months and 29 days for drugparaphernalia possession.
Amanda Laforce was charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, but as Pick Me Up! goes to press, has yet to come to trial.
While justice may have been served, this hasn’t made the Christmas season any easier for Christopher West’s family.
For them, the pain is still fresh, but they insist that their faith carries them through.
Speaking to his brotherin-law’s killers, in the Press, Reese had a hard message...
‘I will never forget what you have taken from me, my family and this world. You had no right.’
Victim Christopher West
The complex where the horror unfolded
The body was found in a remote wooded area