Body of murder victim still missing

Published 10:56 pm Monday, August 1, 2011

The suspects tied to a brutal murder of a 71-year-old Dallas County man are in custody and have admitted their roles in the victim’s death and disposing of the body. But, the family of Jimmy Davenport may not have full closure in the case until the body of their loved one is found.

According to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, officers are still searching for Davenport’s body, more than a week after he was reported missing.

Sgt. Johnny Hatfield, with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, said Monday investigators are continuing to search for the body using information from the suspects and other sources.

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“We are still searching,” Hatfield said. “We brought in search dogs from Montgomery to help in the search.”

Davenport’s daughter Natasha, and her boyfriend, Joseph Howell, were taken into custody last week in Panama City, Fla. in connection with the murder that reportedly took place in February.

In a statement to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, Natasha and Howell gave differing accounts of where Davenport’s body was dumped.

Natasha said the pair dumped the body off a 15-foot cliff, while Howell said the body was in a ravine.

During last week’s bond hearing, Hatfield said they had driven both Natasha and Howell to different spots on separate occasions to try to locate the body.

However, attempts to pinpoint the exact location of Davenport’s remains were unsuccessful.

The alleged murder occurred sometime before Valentine’s Day. Natasha said she did not recall the exact date of the murder or the date the body was removed from the trailer she and her father shared.

After killing Davenport, Natasha used a number of excuses to explain her father’s absence to family members.

Initially, she said Davenport was in a retirement home in Montgomery.

“When they checked in on the home, they found out it had been closed for two years,” Hatfield said. “Then, she said he was in the VA hospital, but he had never been in the service.”

The final story said Davenport left the trailer with an elderly woman.

Natasha has been charged with murder and abuse of the corpse, while Howell has been charged with abuse of a corpse and hindering prosecution.

The events leading to the arrest began when family members reported — after months of not seeing nor hearing from him – Davenport missing on July 16.

Natasha is being held on $3 million bond and Howell is on $1 million bond.
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