Boyfriend of Mother Whose Teen Daughter Was Found Dead in Louisiana Ditch Arrested

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The live-in boyfriend of a Louisiana mom whose missing 16-year-old daughter was found dead in a drainage ditch April 24 has been arrested in the teen’s murder, PEOPLE confirms. 

Without revealing a motive, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne told a news conference today that Daniel Beckley, 40, of Kenner, Louisiana, was “the last adult to have the full care, custody and control” of Jorion White, who vanished from home three days earlier after preparing for bed while her mom went to work a night shift.

Beckley, who was the 10-year live-in boyfriend of White’s mother, Michelle White, 38, now faces charges of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.

“I did not kill her,” Beckley said in an interview with The New Orleans Advocate published April 28, four days after the body was found. “I did not dump her out there. She was my child.”

The sheriff said that as the last person known to be seen with Jorion, Beckley was a logical suspect. The victim’s family members “were very suspicious of him, yes, from the very beginning,” he added.

“We have kept them updated as much as we could,” he said of Jorion’s mother and other relatives, “so they were well-aware of Mr. Beckley being a person of interest and a suspect, so they were relieved, (with) some sense of closure” by the arrest.

Jorion’s decomposed body was spotted by passersby in a swampy, remote area about a half-mile from the nearest residences, said the sheriff. She still wore the pink curlers in her hair that she had prepared to wear to bed.

Authorities said they believe she was killed either that night or early the next morning, with the coroner confirming the cause of death as homicide. The sheriff did not reveal a manner of death.

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Source: People | Jeff Truesdell, @ jhtruesdell