The investigation into the murder of Deputy Horace Nevada continues. While the forensics team found no clues on the body or in the freezer, the shed itself was a wealth of information.
The shed was a homemade metal structure, crudely spot welded, with a plastic tarp under the roof to keep out the rain. According to Missy Beland, the former owners’ daughter, neither of her parents would build a makeshift shed out of scrape metal rather than call a contractor and have one constructed. The first thing the forensic team did was dismantle the shed and take it back to the lab.
After sorting through dozens of fingerprints two sets of interest were discovered. The first belonged to a thirty-two year old man from Godfrey. His fingerprints were on the scrap metal of which the structure was made, but not on any of the items found inside. He was questioned at his place of employment, Pick and Haul Scrapyard, where he has been working since 2004. Although there is no way to trace the material used in the building it is assumed to have been purchased at Pick and Haul, explaining the prints.
The second interesting set of prints belonged to Ronald Wayne Lowery. They were found on the metal pieces making the shed, some personal items in the shed, but not on the freezer or generator. Mr. Lowery is awaiting execution in South Carolina for fourteen murders committed between 2005 and 2013 in three states and suspected of several more. Melissa Tom, one of his victims, was a resident of New Grace and went missing on the afternoon of February 12, 2008. That evening Deputy Nevada disappeared.
Returning to Pick and Haul Scrapyard Detective Winston Spaulding discovered Lowery worked there part-time under an alias and at that time he was involved with a woman named Linda Leeds. While Ms. Leeds seems to have vanished off the face of the earth, at the time of the deputy’s disappearance she rented a home on five acres of property abutting the land then owned by The Belands. According to the property owner they first noticed the shed around 2006. They might be the only people who knew it was there.
When asked if Mr. Lowery will be charged with the murder of Deputy Nevada, Detective Spaulding said, “Even if Mr. Lowery built the shed, nothing ties him to the body. And he doesn’t fit the victimology, Deputy Nevada was at least ten years older than the other victims and they were all buried.”
Mr. Lowery has refused to answer any questions.
“At this point we can only speculate,” said Sheriff Ozell Keith. “The last known activity of Deputy Nevada was pulling over a stolen car. We assume that car was being driven by Lowery and Deputy Nevada saw something he shouldn’t have. Without more proof the deputy’s murder will be another homicide Lowery will never stand trial for.”