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An Arizona man has been accused of killing a 64-year-old woman and hiding her body in a large duffel bag inside a storage unit for months while allegedly stealing money from her bank account.
Brett Daniel Puett, 35, is now facing charges of second-degree degree murder, abandonment and concealment of a dead body and fraudulent schemes and artifices in the death of Debra Lynn Childers, according to a statement from Kingman Police.
Police said Childers’ son reported her missing on May 12 after becoming concerned that he hadn’t heard from her in several months. She'd been primarily living out of her car in Kingman.
The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into her whereabouts and discovered a man had been “withdrawing money from Childers’ bank account over the last several months,” police said.
Detectives also learned that the same man had been driving around in Childers’ vehicle, giving police “immediate concern” for the 64-year-old’s welfare.
They located two storage units that belonged to Childers and made a grim discovery inside one of the units. Investigators found a dead body, believed to be the missing woman, stuffed into a large duffel bag. It appeared the body had been concealed in the storage unit for “several months.”
“Based on evidence and information investigators believe the body to be Debra Lynn Childers, however official identification must be made by the Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office,” police said.
As of Tuesday, a spokesperson with the Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office told Oxygen.com that authorities had not yet positively identified the body or made any final determinations about the cause of death.
According to investigators, Puett and Childers met last summer while both were living out of their vehicles.
Authorities believe Puett shot and killed her sometime in November while they were sharing a Kingman motel room together, according to the statement. Investigators believe the two had a platonic relationship.
After her death, investigators said Puett began withdrawing the money from her bank account and driving her vehicle.
He was taken into custody Friday around 5 p.m. without incident at a residence he'd been staying at. Puett allegedly arrived at the home driving Childers' vehicle, police said.
“Puett has admitted involvement in the killing and subsequent money withdrawals, as well as transporting and concealing her body,” authorities said.
Police declined to release any further information about the case.
Puett is currently being held at the Mohave County Adult Detention Facility.
Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact Kingman Police detectives at (928) 753-2191.
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