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Suspect in Clark Atlanta student's death spent with family

A murdered Clark Atlanta student considered one of her alleged killers as her best friend, and a family spokesman said Sunday, and had invited the woman to spend holidays with her family.

Alexis Crawford's family hosted Jordyn Jones for both Easter and Thanksgiving, said the Rev. Markel Hutchins during an interview Sunday on behalf of the victim's family. Jones and her boyfriend, Barron Brantley, both 21, have been charged with felony murder in the death of Crawford, 21. Crawford and Jones were roommates in an apartment near Clark Clark campus.

“That makes that tragedy all the more difficult to understand and reconcile, ”Hutchins said.

Crawford was found Friday in Exchange Park in DeKalb County after one of the suspected ice shelves to her body. Her family reported her missing Nov. 1

, but investigators said it was likely she had already been killed; Hutchins said Crawford died on Halloween.

An autopsy conducted by the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office determined Crawford died from asphyxiation, or a lack of oxygen. Crawford was stranger, Hutchins said Sunday.

“They knew Jordyn, they liked Jordyn. There was never any reason to suspect that Jordyn would do anything wrong or ill to Alexis, ”Hutchins said. “One family member described them as two peas in a pod. … To go from where we are today, being unthinkable, unspeakable. ”

The women have been friends since their freshman year of college. Crawford, one of 10 children, has a younger brother who also attends Clark Atlanta. In a letter to the Clark Atlanta community, University President George French called Crawford's death "the worst possible news" and an isolated, off-campus incident.

"Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with her family and with everyone who knew and loved Alexis, ”French said in a letter posted on social media after her body was reported found.

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Although the investigation into Crawford's death continues, possible motives may be related to a sexual assault Crawford reported to the police Oct. 27. Brantley was suspected in the Oct. 26 incident, which allegedly happened at the Crawford apartment shared with Jones while the three were consuming alcohol, the report states.

Crawford told police she was blacked out and said sure of everything that Brantley allegedly did. She underwent a medical exam at Grady Memorial Hospital following the incident. After the reported assault, Crawford told friends she was uncomfortable in her own room, so she was sleeping on the couch in the living room, according to a police report.

“I don't think any rational or right-thinking a person would think those incidents are disconnected, ”Hutchins said.

Brantley's arrest on Friday violated his bond condition for a previous February arrest on theft, battery and cruelty to child charges, booking records showed.

After the assault, Crawford and Jones weren't on speaking terms, Jones told shelves. But Crawford asked her roommate to take her liquor store on Oct. 30, Jones said. Surveillance images captured the last photos of Crawford alive. The following morning, Jones said he was left for class and Crawford was not in the apartment.

Hutchins said he had "very strong feelings" about the response to Crawford's allegations, but said it was not "helpful or appropriate" to

He said Crawford was studying criminal justice, and her family recalled her as bright, affectionate, funny and fun.

Crawford's funeral will be held at noon Saturday at Hill Chapel Baptist Church , 1692 W. Hancock Ave., Athens. The family asks that any cards or financial contributions be made directly to Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Home, the metro Atlanta-based funeral home handling arrangements.

Staff writer Alexis Stevens contributed to this story.