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Man charged with capital murder in 2016 deaths of visiting friends

Harvey Lester Cyphers was arrested in Downtown Austin on Monday in connection to the deaths of Sidney Taylor and Krislyn Gibson.

AUSTIN, Texas — A man has been arrested and charged with one count of capital murder and four counts of murder related to the 2016 deaths of two of his friends in Travis County.

On Sept. 18, a grand jury indicted Harvey Lester Cyphers, 53, in the murders of Sidney Taylor and Krislyn Gibson, who were visiting Austin from Houston to attend the 2016 Urban Music Festival.

A previous indictment last year accused Cyphers of knowingly concealing the bodies using a bath mat, shower liner and shower curtains, as well as allegedly altering or concealing “a motor vehicle, a cellphone, text messages.”

In 2016, Taylor and Gibson, both 35, arrived at a friend’s house in Austin on April 1 to attend a concert. They then contacted Cyphers, whom Taylor had allegedly known for several years.

Investigators said the three of them went a club called The Landing Strip and stayed until 2 a.m., when they were seen on surveillance video leaving the club.

The friend they were staying with called to check on them at 3 a.m., and Taylor told the friend they were with Cyphers.

Taylor and Gibson have not been seen since the morning of April 2, 2016.

Taylor’s car was later found abandoned in midtown Houston and his cellphone last pinged around Bear Creek Park in West Houston.

Cyphers was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm in 2001 and convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 1998, according to that indictment.

He served two years in prison after being caught with firearms days after the disappearance of Taylor and Gibson and was released in February 2019.

Cyphers was apprehended in Downtown Austin on Monday evening while on federal supervised release for felon in possession of a firearm, the U.S. Marshals said.

He was arrested without incident and taken to the Travis County Jail with a bond set at $1.5 million.

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