Business partner charged in death of Montgomery County woman

Prosecutors in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, said on Thursday that they had arrested a Royerstown man in connection with the death of Jennifer Brown, a mother of three from Limerick Township who had been missing since early January and whose body was later found in a shallow grave.

Brown’s 33-year-old business partner, Blair Watts, was arrested on Thursday and charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, theft by illegal taking, and access device fraud. In the absence of bail, he is now detained at the Montgomery County Jail.

After picking up her 8-year-old kid for a sleepover the day before to “give Brown a break,” Watts reported Brown missing on January 4.

The District Attorney’s Office characterised Brown as a doting and caring mother, but she was not there when her son left school the next day, and she forgot to bring the boy’s clothing and his prescription.

Based on Watts’s complaint, police began searching for Brown’s body, which they eventually located in a shallow grave on January 18 near an industrial plant in Royersford.

Limerick Township, Pennsylvania's Blair Watts arrested 3 weeks after Jennifer Brown's body was found – CONAN Daily
Source: Conan Daily

Evidence found by a K-9 cadaver unit in the man’s car, GPS data from his cell phone placing him at the grave site, and suspicious financial transactions made from Jennifer’s phone after she disappeared all point to Watts, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said during a press conference.

In his press conference, Steele said he was unable to provide a clear motive for the murder.

Steele concluded that Brown was murdered but did not say how he was killed.

Brown’s autopsy revealed that she had three fractured ribs and evidence of asphyxiation.

At the end of January, Brown and his business partner Watts were supposed to operate a restaurant named Birdies Kitchen.

Steele, however, said that inquiries revealed Watts had never signed a lease or made any payments to the property’s owners, despite the fact that they had intended to buy the facility. Watts threatened legal action against the property’s owners after he was turned down for a purchase.

Investigators eventually determined that on the day Brown was murdered, before he reported her missing, Watts attempted to transfer money using bank apps on her phone. These payments were not part of any arrangement between the two, according to the probe.

Steele claims that $17,000 in transactions to accounts owned by Watts were found on Brown’s tablet computer. Watts went back to the landlords the next day and said he now had the rent money.

Watts, according to Steele, was in the vicinity of where Brown’s corpse was discovered and was moving about with Brown’s mobile phone before it went dead on January 4.

Brown’s kitchen, Watts’s two Jeeps, and a covered garbage bin about 20 yards from her apartment were all searched by a K-9 cadaver dog, which located human biological material in all three locations.

Brown’s house and the shallow burial both included pieces of a broken plastic hair clip, suggesting that she was likely murdered there.

Steele said the arrest was a joint operation between the FBI and the police in Philadelphia, Royersford, Phoenixville, Limerick Township, and East Vincent Township.

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