Candy Jo Webb, 27, was accused of killing her grandfather and hiding his body in a tool chest in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, before fleeing the state to Florida, officials said. Lieutenant Mark Soriano of the New Mexico State Police issued a statement indicating that Webb was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida, and is now awaiting extradition to New Mexico.
According to state police, human remains were found “in a Ranch Supply tool chest” on October 15 on a property on Shenandoah Drive in Fort Sumner, a village in eastern New Mexico’s De Baca County. State officials identified the victim’s remains as 83-year-old AJ Harden, the grandfather of the accused.
State police conducted an “extensive investigation,” according to the press release, and found that Webb: “gave Mr. Harden Xanax and Ambien. After Mr. Harden died, Ms. Webb concealed Mr. Harden’s body in a tool chest. Webb drove the tool chest to 1976 Shenandoah Drive in Fort Sumner where she discarded the body.”
Webb Was Charged With First-Degree Murder & Tampering With Evidence
According to the state police’s press release, Webb was charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence and an arrest warrant was issued on October 28. The statement adds that investigators discovered that Webb had left the state to avoid arrest and the 27-year-old was found by U.S. marshalls in Jacksonville, Florida on November 5. She was arrested and will be extradited to New Mexico.
The Eastern New Mexico News reported that the person who owns the property where Harden’s remains were found told police that her son was renting the property and he lived there with Webb when the two dated. The outlet also reported that the police spoke to Webb on October 19 and she said she lived on the property for two years but hadn’t been there since June.
According to the outlet’s report of the arrest warrant affidavit, Webb said she had moved her grandfather into a nursing home in Texas six months prior and the two had talked on the phone in September. She then told authorities that the retirement home was called “Shady Oaks” in Fort Worth, but detectives found no record of the home. PEOPLE reported that investigators said Webb’s motive in killing Harden was to inherit his lake house.
Harden Was a Navy Veteran Who Became a Truck Driver & Set Up a Hamburger Stand With His Wife
According to Harden’s obituary, he was born in Fort Sumner on April 2, 1938. As a young man, “A.J. worked in the logging industry in Alaska and Oregon” and also joined the U.S. Navy, his obituary states. Harden married Virginia in 1962 and traveled the country as a truck driver before settling down again in Fort Sumner, where he and his wife opened a hamburger stand in town.
Webb studied at the University of the Southwest from 2012 to 2018, according to a LinkedIn profile. She also played volleyball for the school, according to a news release from the university’s athletics department: “Ft. Sumner New Mexico native, Candy Jo Webb, recently signed a Letter of Intent to play volleyball with the Mustangs for the 2012 season,” the release stated. A roster for the team described Webb as a “secondary education major.”