MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (ORN)– Two men have been charged after human remains were discovered in the Norfork area near the White River last month.
The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office says 37-year-old Jeffery Shepherd of Mountain Home and 26-year-old James Davis of Norfork both face charges of first-degree murder and first-degree battery.
The sheriff’s office says the victim, 20-year-old Tyler Pickett, was reported missing to the Mountain Home Police Department on September 17, 2019. On December 5, a tip came in via phone stating the missing person was deceased and that his body was somewhere in the Norfork area. The sheriff’s office says the caller also provided other information to help the investigation.
The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office had previously investigated a burglary that occurred at a residence on property near Norfork, and that personal property belonging to one of the people of interest in the missing person case was found at the scene.
A search of the property began on Tuesday, December 17, and remains and personal effects were found. Those remains were confirmed to be Pickett’s through genetic testing.
Shepherd was interviewed and reportedly stated he had gone to the property on June 27, 2019 and met up with Davis and the victim. Shepherd reportedly told investigators that minutes after arriving he knocked Pickett unconscious and he and Davis walked the victim to a rubbish pile before shooting him multiple times. The story was later corroborated by a female witness who told investigators she was at the scene when the crime occurred but was high on drugs and didn’t have a clear recollection of the events happening. She did, however, state that Davis told her that the victim was “dead” and that “they will never find the body or the gun”.
Shepherd is in custody in the Baxter County Detention Center and will appear in court later this month. Davis is incarcerated in the Benton County Detention Center in Bentonville on unrelated charges. He will be transported to Baxter County at a later date.
The investigation is ongoing.