Accused murderer had reported teen as a runaway
More details have come to light about the case involving the death of 16-year-old Jorion White, the Kenner girl whose body was found in a St. Rose ditch earlier this year and who St. Charles Parish police believe was murdered by her mother’s longtime boyfriend, Daniel Lee Beckley.
Investigators believe White was suffocated by Beckley sometime between the late hours of April 21 and early morning of April 22. He wrapped her body in a sheet and transported it in his vehicle to St. Rose in an effort to cover it up.
St. Charles Parish detectives outlined the apparent cause of White’s death along with evidence linking Beckley to the crime, including blood found in the back of his car and extra-wide tire tracks near the scene matching his vehicle, according to recently released court records.
Beckley, 40, was indicted in August on a charge of second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. The case is being tried in St. Charles Parish because that is where the body was found.
Two travelers in St. Rose reported White’s body laying in a ditch along St. Rose Ave. in a secluded, wooded area a half-mile north of the nearest residence on April 24. White was reportedly found without clothing and with pink rollers in her hair.
Detectives found several survey stakes knocked down near the scene as if rolled over by a vehicle and a green bungee cord whose hook was missing its cap next to her body.
Two days before her body was found, White’s mother, Michelle Price, and Beckley reported the teen as a runaway when she didn’t show up at school or home. Beckley also told police he saw White earlier that morning before he left for work.Later after her body was found, police also were called to the Price residence where several individuals had gathered.
One reportedly yelled that Beckley “killed that girl,” while others attempted to force their way into the home, according to court records.
Identified as a person of interest, Beckley was questioned by detectives when three scratches were observed on his left wrist. He denied hurting White.
Beckley said he fueled his car and put air in his tires at a gas station at Interstate 10 and Loyola Avenue at 1 a.m. April 22. He then returned home to get ready for work, left and then returned home to retrieve his cell phone, which he told police that he’d forgotten. He said he then told White that he was headed to work and that he didn’t see her again.
Police say Beckley agreed to and then refused to take a lie detector test. He then asked for an attorney.
Police checked surveillance video at multiple locations along the route that Beckley said he took that night.
A camera at the gas station where he said he stopped for fuel revealed Beckley opened the trunk of his vehicle and appeared to manipulate a white sheet and towel before shoving it back in and closing it. Other surveillance cameras contradicted Beckley’s alibi.
Investigators also found blue jeans in his truck with what was alleged to be blood on them, as well as on the back seat of his vehicle. At White’s home, blood was found at the baseboard in the hallway and near the doorframe to White’s bedroom. A plastic cap believed to belong to the hook on the green bungee cord found near White’s body was also found in the vehicle.
The wide tire tracks from the scene were matched to those on Beckley’s vehicle.
Police also believe he attempted to clean up the residence and discard clothing White would normally wear to school in an attempt to make her mother believe she had gone to school.
Additionally, Price told police she observed where both a TV and fan were left in her bedroom the day she went missing, which she noted was odd since White habitually turned off all of her electronics before leaving.
Price also confirmed she and Beckley had recently bought a bungee cord from U-Haul to secure items while moving.
Detectives also reported how a longtime friend of White told police Beckley was “a controlling partner with a violent temper.” He also had a 2007 arrest on record for simple battery where he allegedly choked Price’s son until he was nearly unconscious.
White’s autopsy initially could not confirm her cause of death, but on April 29, coroner Brian Brogle advised the death would be stated as “homicidal violence of undetermined etiology, most likely by suffocation.”
Beckley is being held at Nelson Coleman Correctional Center on $1 million bond as of Dec. 28.
A case status conference is scheduled Jan. 18. A request for a bond reduction has been denied.