Joseph Roberts on Tavar: 'She's Dead, and There's Blood Everywhere' | Crime

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Joseph Roberts on Tavar: 'She's Dead, and There's Blood Everywhere'
Crime

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Details about how Brittany Tavar was murdered in July have been released - just a week after a person of interest was found and arrested in Seattle.

Joseph Roberts, 26, told police he hit Tavar in the head several times with a hammer then cut her throat, according to the arrest warrant served on Roberts Tuesday. He is charged with premeditated murder.

In the warrant, police said Roberts explained in graphic detail the events that led up to her disappearance and his arrest.

Tavar, 45, was reported missing from her home on South Beach Drive July 10. She was last seen July 6, according to family members. Investigators learned that 26-year-old Roberts, a transient, had been staying with her.

Roberts said he and Tavar argued the night of July 6, and he woke up the next morning to her "going off about something."

She lived for "a little while" after he hit her in the head several times with a hammer, then he cut her throat, the warrant said.

He told detectives he was "standing over her and she's dead, and there's blood everywhere."

Roberts said he then spent the day cleaning up the area with bleach and wiping everything down, ending up with five or six trash bags he threw into a dumpster.

Next, he said he wrapped her body and tried to put it in the attic, but couldn't, so he put her in the vehicle and drove her to the remote location off State Road 207, where he left the body.

Roberts tried to bury the body, he said, but had difficulty digging, so he just left her there. Then he went home and slept, he said. Roberts began driving across the country in Tavar's vehicle soon afterwards, eventually abandoning it in a Seattle library parking lot.

Tavar's two dogs were found in South Carolina on July 8, and were identified as hers by embedded microchips. Her bank cards were used in South Carolina, North Carolina, Idaho and Oregon between July 8 and July 11, and Roberts was seen on surveillance video in Oregon buying a tent July 11.

That same day, Roberts was pulled over in Wyoming and given a warning.  He was in Tavar's vehicle, but was not arrested, because the investigation had just begun.

Later in July, investigators found blood belonging to a female in Tavar's home; Roberts became a person of interest in the case.

On Oct. 12, when Roberts was caught shoplifting $14 worth of meat in Seattle he was arrested because by that time, his name was in a national database in connection to the Tavar case. He  was wanted for stealing her vehicle.

The next day, Roberts was interviewed in jail, and provided an account that led to the quick recovery of human remains in St. Johns County, which were identified as Tavar's.

He provided detectives with a map and specific directions, and they quickly found the remains. The medical examiner determined the condition of Tavar's body was consistent with what Roberts had said, ruling her death a homicide.

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office then charged Roberts with first degree murder and continues to hold him with no bond.

He was in court today for his first appearance on the murder charge.

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