AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - The Auburn Police Division has identified the victim and a suspect in an early morning homicide.
According to APD, officers responded to a home in the 400 block of White Street at around 1 a.m., in reference to a suspicious incident call. There, they found a 59-year-old woman deceased. A preliminary investigation into the incident indicates she sustained fatal stab wounds.
Lee County Coroner Bill Harris identified the victim to be Phyllis Gulatte, and an investigation by APD led to Christopher Bernard Lyles, 48, being identified as a suspect. Police believe he and Gulatte were engaged in an altercation that led to Gulatte being stabbed. A warrant has been issued for Lyles arrest, charging him with murder. He is being sought by APD and the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force.
Police say at the time of the homicide Lyles was on parole for a 2008 assault, which he committed while on parole for first degree robbery, second degree assault and discharging a firearm convictions in 1992. He was sentenced to 30 years for the 1992 convictions and 16 years for the 2008 conviction. APD reports they had requested he not be granted parole for the 2008 offense.
Gulatte’s body has been taken to the medical examiner’s office of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Montgomery for a postmortem exam.
Anyone with information in this case should call APD at 334-501-3140 or the tip line at 334-246-1391.