MANCHESTER — The hunt for a 17-year-old wanted in connection with the weekend slayings of his grandparents came to an end just after 7 Monday night after his arrest in a wooded area in northeast Cedar Rapids.
Isaiah Sweet, who faces two counts of first-degree murder, was taken into custody following a short foot chase with officers along railroad tracks just south of Blairs Ferry NE Road between Center Point Road and Council Street, police said.
Officers spent nearly two hours searching the area following a tip that he was in the area.
Sweet was being held on a $1 million cash-only-bond.
An arrest warrant was issued Monday afternoon for Sweet in the deaths of Janet Sweet, 62, and Richard Sweet, 55, of Manchester.
The Sweets’ bodies were found Sunday afternoon at their home, 109 Deann Dr., when relatives arrived for a Mother’s Day gathering. Isaiah Sweet also lived at the home.
A $1,000 reward for information leading to Sweet’s capture was offered by CrimeStoppers in Iowa City, where police had held him on unrelated charges Sunday morning.
Sweet admitted to killing his grandparents to three people over the weekend, according to the arrest warrant filed Monday in Delaware County District Court.
First, he told a woman over the phone Friday that he had drugged his grandparents and he thought they were dead because he could not find a pulse. He called her back on Saturday and confirmed his grandparents were dead.
Another witness told police she met Sweet on Saturday and he returned on Sunday asking her to help him find a place to stay. He told her then that he had killed his grandparents and told her “not to be scared.”
A third witness said Sweet had called him Saturday and told him he was “on the run” because he had killed his grandparents.
According to the complaint, Janet and Richard Sweet were believed to be alive early Friday night. A phone call was made from her cellphone about 6:24 p.m., and he was seen by a neighbor about 7:30 p.m.
Authorities said autopsies were conducted Monday by the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny but the causes of deaths were not released.
Janet Sweet was Isaiah Sweet’s legal guardian, according to court documents filed in 2011 regarding child support payments.
Isaiah Sweet was a student at West Delaware High School until he dropped out Feb. 3, Superintendent Kristen Rickey said.
All doors were locked at the high school and two Delaware County sheriff’s deputies were posted at the school Monday because of the double homicide, Rickey said. Activities last night were canceled.
“We believe the risk is very low, but we wanted to be sure,” Rickey said.
Sweet had been in the custody of Iowa City police for about five hours Sunday morning.
He was arrested about 3 a.m. when he tried to get into a convenience store to use the bathroom and set off an alarm, Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said. He was charged with driving with a suspended license and released about 8 a.m. when an adult approved by his mother picked him up, Brotherton said.
Police reached his mother, who lives in Pennsylvania, after failing to reach anyone at a Manchester phone number the teen provided, she said.
Iowa City police contacted state investigators when they learned about the deaths in Manchester on Sunday afternoon, Brotherton said.
Manchester Police Chief Bruce Trapp said police had responded to the Sweet home previously after receiving requests for assistance, but did not elaborate.
Germaine Helle, who lives across the street from the Sweet home, said the neighborhood is usually a quiet place and she was concerned as soon as she saw all the law enforcement vehicles there.
“We’ve just never had anything like this,” Helle said.
The Division of Criminal Investigation is assisting in the investigation.