Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Friend's Betrayal: The Murder of Tammy Epperson

On the Lam

A check of Powell's rap sheet showed that he had arrests for narcotics, burglaries and sexual assault, and that he had been in prison for assault with great bodily injury on another female. He was quite an imposing person: muscular build with a bald head, 6-foot 3-inches tall and weighing 260 pounds. An alert went out to county law enforcement to be on the lookout for Powell's red truck.

Barr finally got home at 6 p.m. the day after arriving at the crime scene, a 21-hour shift. He had just gotten into bed when the phone rang. This time it was a parole officer who said he got a tip that Powell was at the home of another parolee in San Pedro, about 20 miles away.

Barr didn't want to wake up Badar or anyone else who just worked with him, so he called the station to get help from other detectives working the night shift. They went to the scene and questioned the people in the house. They admitted being friends of Powell's, saying he had left 45 minutes earlier. He wasn't driving his truck.

The first 48 hours in any murder investigation are crucial because this is when suspects are easiest to apprehend. They haven't had time to get very far or to go underground. Without the truck he usually drove, Powell could be anywhere and police wouldn't know it. They had passed the 24-hour mark. Barr was extremely frustrated.

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