Suspect reportedly in secret relationship with Blytheville murder victim, fourth arrest made

Suspect reportedly in secret relationship with Blytheville murder victim, fourth arrest made

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - A fourth arrest was recently made by the Blytheville Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division in the 2019 murder of 23-year-old Kevondre Williams.

On Aug. 19, 2019, Blytheville city workers found Williams dead, wrapped in a blanket and carpet located in a ditch along the 2400-block of South Elm Street.

26-year-old Mariah Diamond, 22-year-old Devon Rainey, 25-year-old Jervontae Cox, and 23-year-old Dontel Neely are said to be linked to Williams’ death.

The victim’s family said the last time they saw their loved one was on Aug. 13, 2019, after dropping him off on Byrum Road, where he was headed to an apartment located on the same street.

During an interview with authorities, Williams’ grandmother said the victim called her asking to be picked up at a designated apartment building, where the first suspect, Cox, was staying at the time.

On Aug. 23, 2019, Cox spoke to authorities after they received tips from the victim’s close friends saying he and the suspect were “creeping around” or in a secret homosexual relationship, according to the report.

The suspect denied recently seeing the victim but confirmed he did stay in the apartment building where Williams was last seen.

Cox told police he was not allowed to cooperate with law enforcement due to the conditions of his federal probation.

During the interview with Cox, Blytheville detectives went to the apartment where they found dried blood splatter on the porch wall.

A search warrant was executed and detectives found a sheet soaking in bleach in the bathtub, pillow shams matching the blanket Williams was found wrapped in, and carpet fibers, similar to those found on the victim, in the yard near the apartment.

Police also found evidence of blood inside the residence, which appeared to be cleaned up, and an empty bottle of bleach.

In addition, several bleached towels with bloodstains, numerous latex gloves, and more were found inside the apartment complex’s dumpster.

Three days after the search and interview, BPD was called to the same apartment after residents say they saw Cox take a handgun from the laundry room, where it was stored. Police located Cox walking away from the complex.

Cox is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of possession of a firearm by certain persons, and tampering with evidence.

Jervontae Cox, 25 (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Office)
Jervontae Cox, 25 (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Office)

After the arrest, investigators were told a silver Kia Optima was rented to the second suspect, Mariah Diamond, believed to be used to remove the victim’s body.

The report said Diamond rented the new vehicle from Cavenaugh Kia in Jonesboro, having it during the time Williams was killed and returning it the day after Williams was found dead.

Cavenaugh Kia told police the car had not been used or rented since it was returned.

Employees also said they noticed stains in the vehicle’s trunk where it looked like something was loaded and hauled. BPD then collected more evidence, such as swabs and tape lifts from the truck, sending them to the Arkansas State Crime Lab.

Once crime lab results returned on Jan. 21, 2020, results showed DNA of the victim from the car’s trunk knob. The next day, Diamond was arrested on first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence charges.

Diamond told police she did not know anything about the homicide and couldn’t explain why the victim’s evidence was in the trunk of the car.

Mariah Diamond, 25 (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Office)
Mariah Diamond, 25 (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Mississippi Co. Sheriff's Office)

While being interviewed, Diamond also told police her boyfriend and the third suspect, Devon Rainey, used the car and would borrow it several times during the week.

She added Rainey and Cox were friends, and he would take Cox to work in the car.

During the investigation, surveillance footage from Walmart shows Rainey with Cox as Cox bought cleaning items after the murder took place.

The report also states another witness told authorities they overheard Rainey discussing the homicide, including Williams’ body being wrapped in carpet laying outside of the apartment, using Diamond’s car to remove the body, helping Cox repair the bullet hole in the wall of the apartment, and having shoes with blood on them.

On Jan. 28, 2020, Rainey was arrested, due to a tip, by the U.S. Marshals Service in Osceola after a multiple-day hunt. He is charged with first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Devon Rainey, 23 (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Office)
Devon Rainey, 23 (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Office)

After receiving the tip, Marshals began surveillance on Rainey’s associate, Dontel Neely, who was said to know Rainey’s location while authorities were looking for him.

Once finding out where Neely worked, authorities saw him sitting in a car behind the business, then approached him asking if he knew where Rainey was. He denied knowing anything about his whereabouts, reportedly giving authorities false information on when he last had contact with the suspect.

The report also shows Neely voluntarily gave the U.S. Marshal’s a cell phone, which was used to call 911 to confirm the phone number, ending up belonging to Rainey.

A probable cause search was conducted on Neely’s car due to the smell of marijuana. He admitted the car was his where Marshals found suspected marijuana and a gun.

During the murder investigation, Walmart surveillance video also showed Neely was present with Cox and Rainey as they bought cleaning supplies, the report stated.

It went on to say evidence found at the crime scene indicated the supplies were used to clean up the scene.

Multiple text messages were also found on Cox’s cellphone between him and Neely during the initial investigation and before Cox’s arrest.

Neely was arrested on theft by receiving (firearm), possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), tampering with physical evidence, and hindering apprehension charges.

Dontel Neely, 23 (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Office)
Dontel Neely, 23 (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Office)

Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson stated he wants to complement the department’s detectives and prosecutors for the hours and hard work they’ve put into the case.

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