By Jessica Rush w/Plano Star
When investigators last week began looking for possible suspects in the aggravated kidnapping of a missing fitness instructor, her family and ex-husband all pointed to one individual, Terrance “Rance” Black, according to court document made public Monday.
Black, 48, who has since been located and accused of murdering 40-year-old Susan Loper of Frisco, was decribed as “smothering” and “obsessed” ever since his relationship with Loper ended badly. Loper’s ex-husband, Craig Loper, told police he was involved in a physical altercation at Susan’s home after Black became extremely agitated and combative toward her.
Loper’s parents said that Black had tried numerous times to re-establish a relationship with their daughter, but that she refused. Another friend of Loper’s said Black became angry when she refused to accept gifts from him after their break up.
Along with character witnesses, Plano detectives had other reasons to believe Black was involved in the woman’s disappearance. On April 19, the morning of Loper’s disappearance, Plano officers responded to a burglary call at the Gleneagles Country Club where she worked as a Pilates instructor. Two of her students had become concerned when they could not find Loper and noticed her vehicle, a white 2010 Toyota RAV-4, was not parked in its usual location near the tennis courts.
The two women were supposed to have met Loper for class at 10 a.m. and said it was highly uncharacteristic for her to miss a class. The officer was directed to the workout area of a smaller free-standing building east of the main club house, where one of the women described what they had found.
“We then noticed that the office area of the studio was messy, and we moved closer to see a broken jar, a plant dumped over, a box and capsules, a bullet, (actually we didn’t notice the bullet until later), a coffee cup, a small tote bag and spilled liquid on the floor,” she wrote in a statement to police. “The screen used to separate the office area from the exercise equipment was lying on a gravity bench like it had been tipped over. We walked around some more and found glass shards over by the mats to the right and mud on the pink mat.”
The officer found what appeared to be blood on the floor as well as a live round in the fitness center, and the affidavit says it was apparent a struggle had taken place. Additional blood was found in two locations outside of the building, one near a curb where security camera footage shows Loper’s vehicle may have been parked. A total of three 9mm Luger bullets were found in the area.
Police continued to search for Loper and her vehicle, and just after midnight found the Toyota in an apartment complex about a mile away from the country club. Blood was found inside and outside the vehicle.
Investigators believed they might find the firearm, ammunition or blood evidence in Black’s Frisco home and filed for a search warrant just hours before her body was found the morning of April 20. A Plano officer discovered her body in an undeveloped field in Frisco just south of Lebanon Road. At that time, they said the condition of her body made it impossible to tell the race or age until the Collin County medical examiner had seen it.
Tolltag records from the North Texas Tollway Authority show Loper’s vehicle was going northbound and exited the North Dallas Tollway at approximately 6:16 a.m. near Lebanon Road the morning she disappeared. Approximately 17 minutes later, the tolltag indicated the vehicle re-entered the tollway near Lebanon Road going southbound and exited near Parker Road in Plano.
When investigators searched Black’s home in The Trails neighborhood, they did not find the evidence they were looking for, but they did recover a green folder that contained information and handwritten notes about relationships.
Black is being treated at Flagstaff Medical Center, days after he tried to flee from park rangers in Arizona. Rangers say he jumped into the Grand Canyon after they asked for identification, and he sustained serious injuries when he landed approximately 25 feet on a ledge below the rim.
Plano detectives are in Arizona working with local authorities to extradite Black back to Plano.
Loper leaves behind an 8-year-old special needs son. Her funeral service will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, at Hope Fellowship in Frisco.