Missing NC man found in shallow grave; two charged with murder

Benny Daniels
Benny Daniels

NEWTON, N.C. (WBTV) – The body of a 78-year-old man who was reported missing in Catawba County was found on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, two people wanted as “persons of interest” in the case were now charged with breaking into his home.

Benny Daniels was last seen Saturday night. Two people renting from Daniels – Tabitha Harrison and Thomas Ball – were being sought as persons of interest. Wednesday, Harrison and Ball were found at a Hickory motel and taken into custody.

Harrison and Ball rented a basement apartment at Daniels’ home but apparently left in a hurry, said Sheriff Coy Reid. Deputies said the pair is charged with breaking into Daniels’ home and were being questioned on his whereabouts.

After Daniels’ body was found in a shallow grave, Ball and his brother, Rodney Ball, were charged with murder.

Daniels’ son, Brandon, said he thought he saw a third person this weekend on the property, who he described as a man with a teardrop tattoo coming down from an eye.

Deputies previously said there was evidence of a break-in, as well as other evidence inside the home, that points to something suspicious.

A circular saw could be heard coming from the home Wednesday morning. Reid said the SBI was “collecting evidence.” Two days of searching, though, did not turn up Daniels.

“We need to find out what happened to him,” said Brandon Daniels. Not knowing where he is has been tough on the family, he said.

No further information has been released about the discovery of Daniels’ body or a possible cause of death.

The State Bureau of Investigation is assisting deputies with the investigation.

Anyone with further information is urged to call the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office.

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