Crime & Courts

Shallow grave yields body after 2-day search; questions remain

After the body of Benny Daniels, above, was found in a shallow grave, Thomas Ball and his brother, Rodney Ball, were charged with murder.
After the body of Benny Daniels, above, was found in a shallow grave, Thomas Ball and his brother, Rodney Ball, were charged with murder.

The body of a 78-year-old man who was reported missing in Catawba County was found after two days of searching Wednesday and two brothers are charged in his murder.

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

Earlier in the day, two people wanted as "persons of interest" in the case were charged with breaking into Daniels’ home.

Investigators at the Catawba County Sheriff's Office aren't saying much about motive - except that there was argument before Daniels was killed and items were stolen from him.

Daniels was last seen Saturday night. Two people renting from Daniels - Tabitha Harrison and Thomas Ball - were 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 was charged with breaking into Daniels' home and were questioned on his whereabouts.

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

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."

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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