Charges filed against person of interest in homicide case

Published 12:04 am Thursday, June 2, 2016

MONTEREY — A person of interest in the murder of a Monterey man whose body was found in a bayou in April has been arrested on four counts of possession of stolen property.

When Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies searched Hartwell Layne Tiffee’s 679 Louisiana 907 residence in April, they reportedly found a sawed-off shotgun and charged him with possession of an illegal firearm.

On Tuesday, investigators charged Tiffee with four counts of possession of stolen property found during the April search. Deputites reportedly found four welding machines belonging to the Concordia Parish School Board, said CPSO spokesman Vernon Stevens.

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Tiffee, 34, was named a person of interest in the homicide of Duell Moreland, 26, the week after family members found the victim’s body on April 29 in a bayou off of Peale Cross Road in Monterey. It was an area Moreland was known to spend time.

Tiffee is a relative of Moreland’s.

Stevens said the investigation into the murder of Moreland was still ongoing.

“They are waiting on the crime lab to give them some DNA results,” he said. “As soon as they get that, they will be able to tie somebody specific to it.”

Stevens said the Louisiana crime labs are backed up with cases, and it usually takes a month or more to receive results.

Moreland went missing from his grandparent’s residence on March 29. He reportedly received a number of phone calls that evening before leaving the residence, which is where he primarily lived.

After a month of searching, his body — mostly skeletal remains — was found in late April by his grandfather, Rufus “Buddy” Tiffee, who received a tip from a family friend and organized a boat expedition.

The body was sent to the Louisiana State University FACES Lab at the time it was recovered by law enforcement and was returned to the family on May 24. The funeral was at the Eva Church of God in Monterey on May 28, almost two months after he went missing.

Moreland’s family has criticized the sheriff’s office for not moving early enough during the disappearance and has expressed concern that multiple unnamed persons of interest reportedly involved in the homicide are still at large in the community.