The ex-business partner of mum Jennifer Brown has been charged with her murder in a grisly case which has shocked the US. Blair Watts, 33, was arrested more than a month after he reported Ms Brown missing.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office has accused Ms Brown’s former business partner of murdering her and putting her body into a shallow grave.
The 48-year-old mum had previously agreed to invest money into Mr Watt’s restaurant, Birdie’s Kitchen, which opened at the end of January, according to prosecutors.
The day before Ms Brown was reported missing, two cash transfers totaling $17,000 were made to accounts controlled by Watts, prosecutors allege.
Police were alerted by Mr Watts after Ms Brown failed to pick her eight-year-old son up from his school bus on January 4.
Ms Brown’s body was discovered two weeks later in the shallow grave about 30 miles north of Philadelphia.
Prosecutors allege that Watts killed his former business partner on January 3, after two cash transfers of $9,000 and $8,000 were made into accounts he controlled.
The district attorney’s office says the $17,000 bank transfer was not part of the written agreement between Mr. Watts and Ms. Brown.
They also claimed that Mr. Watts went to the property owner’s house on January 4 and said he now “had money to put down a lease” for the restaurant building.
READ MORE: Burglar twice raided home of dead neighbor to steal her belongings
District attorney Kevin Steele said: “For 37 days since this devoted mother was reported missing, detectives have been accumulating evidence, piece by piece, bringing into focus what happened to Jennifer and who murdered her.
“That picture shows Blair Watts murdered Jennifer Brown on January 3, then moved her body and ultimately buried her in a shallow grave. He is now behind bars at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.”
Mr Watts picked Ms Brown’s son up from the bus stop and told him that she was shopping and he would need to stay over at his house that night, prosecutors said.
He stopped by Ms Brown’s residence and went inside while the young boy stayed in the car. He later noticed his mum’s phone in Mr Watts’ hands – this was the only personal item her investigators could not locate.
Phone data also shows Ms Brown’s and Mr Watts’ phones traveled together at times over January 3 and January 4, before the mum’s became inactive the following morning.
A police sniffer dog found human remains in two cars Mr Watts drove and broken pieces of a hair clip found in Ms Brown’s home were later connected to the grave site, the district attorney’s office said.
Mr Watts previously claimed he had “nothing to do with anything” involving Ms Brown’s disappearance and death, according to NBC 10.
He told the broadcaster: “Just because I’m the last person to see her, that doesn’t mean anything.”