BAYOU GEORGE - Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen laid out the new details Friday morning during a news conference at the Sheriff's Office.
He says 70 year old Arthur Moore's wife, pregnant daughter, and son-in-law were responsible for his murder. Moore disappeared from home in early September.
Lottie Moore claimed her husband walked off after having a fight with his daughter, Mary Clanton, and her husband, David. She told BCSO investigators he left their home off 2301 about 6:15 a.m. She also said her husband was known to leave without telling family and remain gone for long stretches of time.
The Sheriff’s Office spent the next six weeks searching the area around the Moore’s home using BCSO K9, Air Unit, patrol deputies, the BCSO Mounted Posse, multiple investigators with the Criminal Investigations Division and Bay County Search and Rescue. No new evidence was found.
Then this week, a co-worker of Moore's son-in-law, David Clanton, called in a tip that broke open the case.
The co-worker says it started when he made a joke to Clanton.
"'Heck you probably killed him.' He said 'yeah, I did' and he said 'you probably choked him out.' He said 'yeah I did.' It was kind of a joking thing, but it made that person feel a little uneasy about it," said Capt. Jimmy Stanford with the Bay County Sheriff's Office.
Investigators questioned Clanton, Moore's daughter, Mary Clanton, and his wife, Lottie Moore.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, David Clanton strangled Arthur Moore, 70, while he was asleep in his bed. Moore’s wife, Lottie, and daughter, who is eight months pregnant, watched. The trio then took Moore’s body to a field off Steelfield Road and Highway 79 in northwest Bay County and buried him.
Investigators arrested all three family members Thursday night.
"These confessions were corroborated with the fact that, first of all, the subject that committed the homicide took the investigator to an area where the body was located at," said Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen. "There would be no way possible for these guys to find that body."
The murder happened September 8. The next day, the family reported him missing. The Sheriff’s Office says that was part of a well-orchestrated plan.
"This case turns out that it was a pretty well thought out murder plan by the victim's wife, daughter and son in law," said Capt. Stanford. "They did a lot of preparation in doing this homicide and they covered their tracks pretty well."
Friday afternoon Circuit Judge Shane Vann ordered all three held without bond on an open count of murder. They will be appointed public defenders.
Investigators did not speculate on a motive, other than to say Lottie Moore told them she didn't like her husband.