Monterey man charged with second degree murder

Published 12:17 am Friday, June 3, 2016

MONTEREY — A Monterey resident has been charged with second-degree murder and investigators say more arrests are pending in connection with the homicide of a man whose decomposing body was found in April, dumped in a bayou.

Hartwell Layne Tiffee, 34, 679 Louisiana 907, was charged with second-degree murder by the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office Thursday morning, public information officer Vernon Stevens said.

Tiffee 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 a place Moreland was known to spend time.

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Though the sheriff’s office was still waiting on results from the crime lab, Stevens said investigators believed the evidence was enough to seek an arrest warrant. Stevens said more arrests are pending, but he would not give a specific number of people.

Moreland’s stepfather, Steve Murrell, said the arrest of Tiffee is both sad and a relief for the family. Tiffee is a relative of Moreland’s, and Murrell said Tiffee’s family has been kind to him.

“It is really bad for our family, but it is also bad for his — I just hate it,” he said. “I hate it all the way around for everybody, I wish they hadn’t went that far with it, but it is what it is.

“You have to pay for the crime if you do it.”

Kim Murrell said she thought Tiffee and her son, Moreland, were close.

“I didn’t know they were enemies, but something must have changed that they could murder my son in the way they did,” she said. “They tampered with the body after.”

Steve Murrell said he believed people would rest easier in Monterey when the sheriff’s office makes arrests on the others involved in the murder.

“We are glad they are making progress on the case,” he said. “It would be great news to get them all off the street.”

Chief Deputy David Hedrick said this is still an ongoing investigation.

“Sheriff (Kenneth) Hedrick is confident that his detectives will do a thorough and complete investigation,” he said. “Please keep the families involved in your prayers.”

Moreland went missing from his grandparents’ 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.

Moreland’s 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.

“It was the toughest funeral I’ve ever been involved with,” Steve Murrell said.

Steve Murrell said the family is requests memorials be made in Moreland’s name to the Aiden Taunton Medical Benefit at branches of Concordia Bank & Trust.

Tiffee was already in jail on other charges when the warrant was issued. His bond was set at $650,000.

He had previously been charged with having an illegal firearm and four counts possession of stolen property.