Crime

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

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."

Arrest Made in Hit-and-Run in St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- According to the St. Augustine Record, an arrest has been made in a fatal hit and run over the weekend.

The suspect's name has not been released.

The victim has been identified as 33-year-old Brian Stevenot of Ormond Beach, according to The Record.

A motorist found Stevenot lying in the middle of U.S. 1 and called 911 early Saturday morning.   The coroner pronounced Stevenot dead at the scene.

The incident shut down the roadway for about four hours.

Detectives in Seattle Relieved To Have Answers In Tavar Case

SEATTLE -- St. Johns County detectives George Harrigan and Kip Brantley said they are relieved to finally be able to give Brittany Tavar's family some answers.

"I don't think you ever have full closure but at least they have some sense of closure knowing what happened and knowing he's in custody," said Harrigan.

The two detectives flew straight to Seattle when police arrested Joseph Roberts Tuesday on shoplifting charges.

"Life will never be the same for them but at least they can come to terms with what happened," said Brantley.

They say in hours of interviews Roberts eventually opened up, telling them exactly what happened to Tavar.

And they say Roberts told them where to search for Tavar's remains in St. Augustine.

Brittany Tavar's Family: 'The Case is Closed'

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Brittany Tavar's family is feeling some closure following the discovery of remains in St. Johns County,

"As far as family is concerned, the case is closed," said Patricia Bellamah, Tavar's sister.

South Ponte Vedra resident Tavar, 45, disappeared in July 2010.

Remains were found off Highway 207 Thursday near Lightsey Road following an interview with a person of interest in the case.

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office deputies traveled on Wednesday to Seattle, where Joseph Roberts had been arrested for shoplifting at a grocery store. They questioned him late Wednesday night about the disappearance of Tavar.

Tavar Disappearance Suspect Awaiting Return to Florida

SEATTLE, Wash. - A King County, Wash. judge found probable cause to hold Joseph Roberts in a Seattle jail.

During a hearing Wednesday afternoon, the judge set Roberts' bail at $500,000, and he's being held in the King County Correctional Facility.

Seattle police arrested Roberts, 26, Tuesday night, after the QGC, an upscale grocery store in University Village, reportedly caught him trying to steal $14 worth of meat.

MORE: Community news from Seattle's University District

While talking to investigators, police there said Roberts initially told them his name was Andrew Lake, but said he couldn't give them an accurate date of birth.

Roberts then gave them his real name, and after they searched, officers learned that Roberts was wanted on warrants here in Florida.

Tavar Suspect Held as a Fugitive in Seattle


SEATTLE, Wash. -- Seattle police have arrested a man believed to be involved in the disappearance of a First Coast woman.

Officers have arrested Joseph Roberts, 26, on retail theft charges, after they said he tried to steal about $14 worth of meat from a store.

While talking to investigators, police said Roberts initially gave a fake name, before finally admitting his real name and telling them that he is from Florida. But detectives said that Roberts denied having any outstanding warrants.

After they found out Roberts was a fugitive, Seattle Police called the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies here said they think Roberts has something to do with the disappearance of South Ponte Vedra Beach resident Brittany Tavar.

Tavar's sister, Patricia Bellamah, told First Coast News this arrest brings the family some relief.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Youth Art Contest

Hubbard House announced September 20th the launch of its first-ever Domestic Violence Awareness Month Youth Art Contest in an effort to raise awareness about domestic violence among youth.

The contest, open to youth ages 5-12 living in Northeast Florida, runs from Sept. 20 through Oct. 21 and highlights Hubbard House’s newest prevention program WAVE (Working Against Violence Every day, Everywhere, Every time). The program teaches youth healthy relationship skills before abuse occurs, how to identify and prevent bullying and helps them gain a better understanding of how violence affects their lives.