DNA Leads to Arrest in Clearwater Murder Case
A 23-year-old Clearwater man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Adrianne Robert earlier this month. Thomas Frederick is also charged with stealing Robert’s car after the murder.
Robert was found dead by her roommate early July 14 in their Clearwater apartment. An investigation revealed that Robert and her roommate were celebrating their last night as roommates and had been drinking when they decided to walk to Diamond Dolls strip club about a mile and a half from their home. There, they reportedly struck up a conversation with Frederick, whom they did not know.
After several hours at the club, Robert decided to leave. Her roommate wanted to stay at the club for a while longer. Surveillance video from Diamond Dolls allegedly showed Robert leaving the establishment and a black male catching up to her and giving her a shawl she had left behind. The video shows the two walking away together.
A few hours later, Robert’s roommate arrived home and found Robert in the bathroom, wearing only a bra and having been stabbed in the chest. Media reports also suggest that she had been sexually assaulted. Her vehicle, an orange Jeep, was missing from the apartment complex parking lot, but was found later that day by Largo police officers.
Investigators gathered DNA evidence from Robert’s mattress at the scene of the homicide and from post-mortem vaginal swabs.
They also reviewed surveillance video from Diamond Dolls, which showed Frederick arriving hours earlier than Robert, at around 5:00 p.m. in a taxi. Using that information, detectives say they were able to track down a cell phone number used to call the cab company. That same cell number was already logged in a crime database from a suspicious persons case filed by the Clearwater Police Department and belonged to Thomas Frederick.
As Frederick had no substantive criminal record and no DNA sample on file with authorities, deputies began surveilling him. They ultimately collected one of Frederick’s discarded cigarette butts, which yielded DNA (presumably in the form of saliva on the cigarette paper and filter.
The DNA evidence was sent to the Pinellas County Forensic Lab for evaluation and was returned this week. According to authorities, the test results established Frederick as the suspect. The sheriff’s office says he has made admissions to detectives and provided information on the location of the murder weapon as well as a missing section of Robert’s bed sheet.
It is yet to be determined and disclosed whether the state intends to pursue the death penalty if Frederick is convicted of first-degree murder.