Welcome back to Bite-Sized Crime. This week’s episode is a little different than usual. Instead of bringing you a brand new case, I’m taking a look back at some of the cases I’ve covered in the past. In the year and a half since starting this podcast, there has been significant movement in several cases, so I wanted to spend some time updating you on where they are now. I’ll give a quick overview of each one, but all of the original episodes are linked in the show notes if you’d like to go back and re-listen to get all the details.
The first case we’ll look at is that of Jocelyn Watt from episode 014. On January 5, 2019, officers from the Riverton Police Department in Wyoming responded to a report of two unresponsive individuals at a home on East Main Street. When police arrived at the home, they found the bodies of Jocelyn Watt and her partner Rudy Perez, both dead from gunshot wounds. For two years, investigators begged the public for information, fully believing that the perpetrators were still at large.
Finally, in December of 2021, the Fremont County Attorney’s Office announced that they were charging four individuals in connection with the murders of Jocelyn Watt and Rudy Perez. Patrick SunRhodes, Bryce Teran, and Brandon Monroe were charged with felony murder, and Korbin Headley was charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.
According to an affidavit, the four young men – three of whom were minors at the time – were driving around the Wind River Indian Reservation on the night of January 3, 2019, drinking and “partying”. Sixteen-year-old Brandon Monroe allegedly went back into his house to retrieve methamphetamine and a small-caliber handgun. After smoking the meth, Brandon told the others that he needed to “take care of business” in town. The group drove to Riverton and parked in an alley behind Jocelyn and Rudy’s house. Brandon and 14-year-old Patrick SunRhodes entered the home through the back door. According to Patrick, shortly after Brandon went into the back bedroom, he heard gunshots. Patrick found Rudy Perez struggling to fight Brandon off. Patrick then watched as Brandon shot Rudy in the head. Jocelyn lay on the floor nearby. Brandon and Patrick fled the scene, Bryce Teran behind the wheel of the truck.
In February of 2022, Patrick SunRhodes, Bryce Teran, and Korbin Headley pleaded not guilty to all charges. However, in December of 2022, Bryce Teran changed his plea to no contest and agreed to testify against the others in exchange for his felony murder charge being dropped. Korbin Headley, who maintains that he was “passed out drunk” in the truck at the time of the murders, was sentenced to 3 years in prison for accessory after the fact. He was given credit for time served and is currently out on probation.
Brandon Monroe, the alleged shooter, is still awaiting trial. His lawyers have requested further psychiatric evaluation, and he is currently in state custody until a place at the Wyoming State Hospital is available.
The families of Jocelyn Watt and Rudy Perez still feel the effects of their loss. At Korbin Headley’s sentencing hearing, Jocelyn’s mother Nicole told the court, “The wounds never heal. Every time we come to Court, it opens up the trauma again for my family… What hurts is, nobody spoke up, for how many years nobody spoke up.”
Jocelyn’s sister Tianna echoed her mother’s sentiments. “Since that day, nothing has been the same… Unfortunately these were the cards we were dealt, and I’m thankful to know that rightfully justice will be served in its own way.”
The next case is from episode 021 – the case of Suzanne Morphew, who went missing in May of 2020. When Suzanne’s daughters couldn’t reach her by phone on Mother’s Day, they asked a neighbor to check on her. But although Suzanne’s car was in the driveway, no one was answering the door. Suzanne’s husband Barry was out of town – he asked the neighbor to see if Suzanne’s bicycle was in the garage, and it wasn’t. Working on the assumption that Suzanne had gone out for a bike ride and hadn’t returned home, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office launched a search along the Colorado Trail, a popular spot for cyclists. But all they found was Suzanne’s bike at the bottom of a ravine.
Investigators began to suspect that Barry Morphew may have been involved in his wife’s disappearance. Court documents revealed that Suzanne had been keeping extensive notes on Barry’s abusive behavior, including accusations of stalking and threatening her with a gun. Two months before she disappeared, Suzanne told Barry that she wanted a divorce, but he begged her to stay. Finally, on May 6th, Suzanne told him it was over. A recovered text message from her phone said, “I’m done. I could care less what you’re up to and have been for years. We just need to figure this out civilly.” Three days later, Suzanne disappeared.
For an entire year, investigators tracked Barry’s movements and gathered evidence of his involvement. In May of 2021, Barry Morphew was arrested and charged with Suzanne’s murder. The unsealed arrest affidavit was packed with information supporting the charges, and Barry’s trial was set for May of 2022.
However, as the trial was about to begin, the district attorney’s office filed a motion to dismiss the case so that they could have more time to search for Suzanne’s body. According to the court documents, the district attorney’s office believed that they were “close to locating the deceased victim’s body.” The judge dismissed the case without prejudice, which means that prosecutors could still file charges against Barry in the future.
As of this recording, Barry Morphew has not been re-charged. After the case was dismissed, Barry requested that the property seized by police during the investigation be returned to him, but his request was denied; the judge ruled that the property was still considered evidence. However, despite avoiding murder charges, Barry has not managed to stay out of hot water. He is currently on probation after pleading guilty to forgery for using Suzanne’s name to fraudulently vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, six months after his wife disappeared. He was sentenced to a year of probation and 32 hours of community service.
Unfortunately, Suzanne Morphew’s body has not yet been found. If you have any information about Suzanne’s case, please contact the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office at 719-539-2596.
Our next case is that of Harmony Montgomery from episode 025. On New Year’s Eve 2021, authorities announced that seven-year-old Harmony had been missing since October of 2019, a full two years before her disappearance was reported to law enforcement. She had slipped through the cracks of the child welfare system, and no one seemed to have any answers.
Harmony and her brother were placed in foster care in July of 2018 after their mother was no longer able to care for them. While Harmony’s brother was eventually adopted, Harmony was sent back to live with her father, Adam Montgomery, in February of 2019, despite Adam’s extensive history of criminal charges and drug use. The timeline of Harmony’s case is convoluted, so I encourage you to listen to the full episode for all the details, but suffice it to say, there was plenty of evidence to show that Harmony was abused at the hands of her father and his wife. The last known sighting of Harmony was in October of 2019, when police were called to the house and were able to confirm that the little girl was there.
On January 4, 2022, shortly before I recorded Harmony’s episode, Adam and Kayla Montgomery were arrested and charged with multiple felonies, including assault and endangering the welfare of a child. In the twelve months since, investigators have continued to look into Harmony’s case. In August of 2022, the New Hampshire Attorney General announced that they believed Harmony was murdered in early December of 2019, when she was just five years old. Her case was officially named a homicide investigation.
In October of 2022, Adam Montgomery was charged with second-degree murder, falsifying evidence, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with a witness. Court documents show that Kayla Montgomery admitted to lying to police at Adam’s request before eventually telling investigators that Adam had beaten Harmony to death on December 7, 2019. Kayla took a plea deal and agreed to testify against Adam in exchange for a lesser sentence on perjury charges.
On January 26, 2023, Adam Montgomery was officially indicted by a grand jury on the charge of second-degree murder. Harmony’s mother Crystal spoke with WMUR after the announcement, saying, “It’s relief. It’s, you know, anger that he still hasn’t said where she is… Even if it’s the bare minimum of what I get, I just want her back. I just want her back home.”
Investigators are still actively seeking leads that may result in the recovery of Harmony’s remains. If you have any information, please contact the Manchester Police Department at 603-668-8711.
In episode 029, we looked into the mysterious disappearance of 18-year-old Zebb Quinn. On the evening of January 2, 2000, Zebb had just finished a shift at a South Asheville Wal-Mart and had plans to meet up with a friend – 22-year-old Robert Jason Owens. Zebb had mentioned that he wanted to buy a new car, and Jason said he knew of a Mitsubishi for sale and offered to go with Zebb to take a look. The two drove separately, but not long into the trip, Zebb pulled over onto the side of the road. He told Jason that he had just gotten a message on his pager and that he needed to find a payphone. When Zebb returned about 10 minutes later, he accidentally rear-ended Jason’s truck, but according to witnesses, it was a minor fender-bender and neither Zebb nor Jason were injured. After that, Zebb allegedly told Jason he had to leave before driving away into the night. Zebb was never seen again.
However, the next morning, Jason showed up at a local urgent care with a head wound and a broken rib, claiming he had been in a car accident. Although investigators suspected that Jason knew more about Zebb’s disappearance than he was saying, they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him with anything, and Zebb’s case went cold.
Tragically, it would be the murder of another couple, JT and Cristie Codd, that would finally lead to Jason’s arrest in 2015. But it would be another two years before Jason was indicted on first-degree murder charges in the death of his former friend, Zebb Quinn.
Unfortunately, the case sat stagnant in the North Carolina court system for years. Finally, in July of 2022, Jason Owens appeared before a judge and pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of first-degree murder.
In court, Jason’s defense team maintained that Jason had not been the one to murder Zebb, but that his abusive uncle had tricked him into luring Zebb into the woods on the promise of meeting up with a young woman named Misty Taylor, whom Zebb had a crush on. According to the defense, Misty’s boyfriend had hired Jason’s uncle Gene Owens to kill Zebb out of jealousy, and that Gene had followed through on the plan, dismembering Zebb’s body before burning it.
Despite this story being extremely similar to what happened to the Codds, the district attorney’s office accepted that prosecuting Jason for first-degree murder would be an uphill climb. Assistant District Attorney Jeremey Ingle told the court, “Based on the evidence available, the lack of evidence of motive, cause of death, [spoiling] of evidence based on a decades-long pause in critical leads in the case, a conviction of first-degree murder at trial — though never a certainty — would present a steep challenge considering all these factors.”
Robert Jason Owens was sentenced to 13-16 years in prison, which he will serve at the same time as the life sentence he was given for the murders of JT and Cristie Codd. His uncle, Gene Owens, died in 2016, so this will likely be the final update in the case.
Finally, there is a sad update in the case of Jeremy Stout, whose story I covered in episode 051. On May 7, 2022, Jeremy called his parents to say that he had purchased a bus ticket from Knoxville to Kingsport and would be home to see them early the next morning. But Jeremy didn’t arrive home, and the ensuing investigation showed that although his bus ticket had been used, there was no proof that it was Jeremy who had used it. The bus stop on Cherry Street where Jeremy had been waiting was actually just a gas station parking lot, and it was well-known for its unsafe location.
After Jeremy’s disappearance, investigators searched wooded areas and creeks near Cherry Street, but it seemed as though Jeremy had just vanished. Then, on November 28th, Knoxville Police responded to a report of human remains. In an abandoned school building just one block away from the Cherry Street bus stop, officers recovered the body of Jeremy Stout. His wallet and duffel bag were with him. He was identified through dental records and his family was notified.
Jeremy’s parents were surprised at how close Jeremy had been the whole time, and they expressed frustration that the area hadn’t been properly canvassed. Lisa Stout said, “It’s just hard for me to believe that someone would be in the vacant school… for seven months, and nobody noticed.” Jeremy’s father Jeff agreed, saying, “We were probably within 25 feet of him and didn’t even know it. I think God showed mercy to us by not finding him that day because we probably would have found him in a state that would’ve been very scarring in our memory.”
On a recent trip to Knoxville, I drove past the abandoned building where Jeremy was found, and I can understand how it could have been overlooked, but I can also understand how Jeremy may have wanted to seek shelter there. The weather on the night of May 7th was cool and rainy; perhaps Jeremy found an unlocked door and sneaked inside the run-down school rather than stay out in the elements at the gas station. According to news reports, Jeremy was discovered inside an electrical closet – his parents have wondered if he went in there voluntarily to prevent someone from taking his stuff. His parents have also considered the possibility that Jeremy may have relapsed, although at the time of his disappearance he was sober and doing well. Of course, police still haven’t ruled out foul play, and more information may come out in the next few months.
Whatever the reason for Jeremy being inside that building, my heart goes out to his family, and I hope that they will find peace.
As I mentioned at the top of the episode, all of the original recordings for these cases are linked in the show notes, and you can find source materials and transcripts on the podcast website. If you have any other updates or know of a case that I should cover, please reach out to me through email or through the contact form on bitesizedcrimepod.com. Thank you for your support, and I’ll be back next week with a brand new episode.