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Once Convicted Murderer Linked To Missing Father Of Six, At Least Three Others Suspects Sought
Shawn Samuel Burton hasn't been seen since March 22. Police allege that once-convicted murderer Darrius Tyson and at least three others kidnapped and assaulted Burton the night he went missing.
A man once convicted of murder has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a North Carolina father.
Darrius Tyson, 30, has been charged with first-degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit murder, according to NBC Durham affiliate WRAL-TV. Authorities say he is linked to the disappearance of Shawn Samuel Burton, 44, who hasn’t been seen since March 22.
Police say Tyson is one of at least four people responsible for restraining and injuring Burton, though it remains unclear whether or not Durham Police believe Burton is dead. They have not named the others suspected in Burton’s disappearance.
A warrant obtained by the News & Observer states Tyson didn’t release Burton “in a safe place” and that the missing man was “seriously injured” at the time.
Durham Police say Burton disappeared from the 700 Block of N. Duke Street in Durham on March 22 and hasn’t been seen since.
His wife told WRAL-TV that Burton worked as a club promoter at Club 9one9 in Durham — and that she recognized Tyson as a performer who was supposed to hold an event that Burton had organized.
“He left the house at night and said that he was going to the club to promote an event he had coming up,” she previously told WRAL-TV. “That was the last time I saw him.”
Police said they found Burton’s truck in Warren County — about 60 miles northwest of the city — according to the Durham outlet.
Buton’s wife, who spoke under a condition of anonymity, says that the news of Tyson’s arrest brings hope as she continues to search for her missing husband.
“That way, hopefully, we will be able to find out who are the other people who are involved,” she told WRAL-TV. “And hopefully find out exactly here Shawn is.”
The two have been married for 14 years and have six children under the age of 10.
“It's just really tough. It’s been two months, and just not knowing is the whole thing,” the wife said. “You want to hold onto hope. You hope for the best, and you have to prepare for the worst as well.”
In 2012, Tyson initially entered an Alford plea for a 2010 incident when he allegedly held a gun to someone’s head while a co-conspirator stole the victim’s cell phone and $4, according to the News & Observer. Tyson — who was 18-years-old at the time — was already on probation for being in possession of stolen goods and felony breaking and entering.
Tyson also pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder and other crimes related to a different 2010 robbery. Tyson and five others were accused of fatally shooting Bernardo Ponce and shooting another person while attempting to rob a group of men walking down Chapel Hill Street. Tyson was sentenced to up to 17 years behind bars in that case, according to court records obtained by News & Observer.
In May 2020, the district attorney’s office consented to a motion for appropriate relief, vacating the consolidated convictions on the grounds that Tyson received ineffectual counsel and misrepresentation of evidence by the prosecutor. The district attorney’s office’s spokesperson, Sarah Willets, cited a 2018 motion claiming the decision came “at a time when there was issues of misconduct by some in the District Attorney’s office,” according to the News & Observer.
It has yet to be determined whether or not prosecutors will move forward with a new trial for Tyson in that case.
For now, he remains in jail on $2 million bond in the Burton disappearance, according to WRAL-TV.
Requests to the Durham County District Attorney’s Office, Durham County Sheriff’s Office, and the Durham Police Department were not immediately returned to Oxygen.com.
The family is offering a $20,000 reward for information on the case.
Shawn Burton is a Black man, 6’4” in height and who weighs between 280 and 300 pounds, according to Durham police.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Investigator A. Harton with the Durham Police Homicide Unity at 1-919-560-4415 ext. 29312 or 1-919-560-4427.