Blood in his stepdaughter's bedroom and in the back of his car.

Extra-wide tire tracks found near his stepdaughter's body that matched his vehicle's wheels.

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$1 million bail set for suspect arrested in Jorion White murder case _lowres

 Daniel Lee Beckley

Surveillance video that conflicted with his claims about his whereabouts.

A green bungee cord.

All of that evidence led local authorities to charge Daniel Lee Beckley, 40, with murder following the disappearance and death of his longtime girlfriend's daughter, Jorion White, earlier this year, according to a police narrative obtained by The New Orleans Advocate.

Authorities have largely declined to discuss how they came to believe that Beckley killed White, 16, at her home in Kenner and then tried to mislead investigators by dumping her body several miles away in St. Rose.

But the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office narrative reveals details that have not been previously released about White's slaying as well as the investigation that sent her mother's live-in boyfriend to jail on accusations of murder and obstruction of justice in early May.

Beckley, who was later indicted, has pleaded not guilty. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

According to the newly available narrative, various pieces of evidence led authorities to conclude that Beckley suffocated White inside the home they shared on Phoenix Street during the night of April 21-22, while her mother, Michelle Price, was working her overnight job.

He is suspected then of covering White's corpse with a white sheet, placing her in the back seat or trunk of his car and driving to St. Rose Avenue.

Beckley is believed to have pulled off the road next to a drainage ditch and dumped the body there, leaving behind distinctive tire tracks and a green bungee cord whose hook was missing a plastic cap.

Authorities think he then returned to his home and tried to clean it up, whisking away clothes White would typically have worn to school at Bonnabel High in an attempt to make her mother believe the teenager had gone to classes that day before disappearing.

Part of Beckley's alleged plan worked initially. When White failed to show up at school or return home, Price reported her daughter as a possible runaway, according to the narrative.

However, it began unraveling two days later when a man and his wife driving on St. Rose Avenue spotted the body of White, who was wearing nothing other than pink hair rollers.

Suspicion zeroed in on Beckley soon after authorities learned of the discovery.

For one thing, Beckley reportedly admitted to Price that he was the last person known to have seen White alive — supposedly, at 2:45 a.m. April 22, as he told the teen that he was leaving early for his own job.

One of Price's longtime friends described Beckley as "a controlling partner with a violent temper," who had once been arrested on an accusation that he had choked White's brother, Darius, until he almost lost consciousness.

No other details on that allegation have become available. Police said this week that he had a prior arrest for simple battery in February 2007, but it wasn't clear whether that was the incident to which Price's friend was referring. 

In any event, on the night of April 24, police responded to a large crowd gathering outside Beckley's and Price's house, where people shouted that Beckley had killed White and some reportedly tried to force their way into the house.

Both Beckley and Price were brought in for questioning by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office, which patrols the area where White's body was discovered — and it was during his interrogation that investigators heard a version of events they say crumbled under scrutiny.

Beckley allegedly claimed he fueled up his car and put air in his tires at a gasoline station at Loyola Avenue and Interstate 10 in Kenner about 1 a.m. He said he then returned home to get dressed for work, left the house but again went back upon realizing he had forgotten his cellphone.

He claimed he then told White — through a closed bathroom door — that he was going to work and left, never to see her again.

Offered the chance to take a lie-detector test, Beckley at first said he would, but he later cut off the interrogation and asked for an attorney. He was allowed to leave that night, but he let investigators swab his cheek for DNA and confiscate his cellphone while insisting he had nothing to do with White's death, the Sheriff's Office account notes.

The narrative asserts that Beckley had visible scratches on one of his wrists.

Later, investigators found surveillance video that showed Beckley's car driving along St. Rose Avenue almost a half-hour before he gassed up in Kenner. The tape showed the vehicle about a quarter-mile from where White's body was later found.

Meanwhile, a separate surveillance video from the gas station revealed that Beckley at one point popped his trunk open and fiddled with what appeared to be a white sheet.

Having determined Beckley was at least a person of interest in White's death, investigators combed through the teenager's home multiple times. They also processed Beckley's car.

The Sheriff's Office narrative claims technicians found what appeared to be blood in several places, including on White's bedrail, near the door frame to her bedroom and on a hallway baseboard.

Her school uniform, one of her favorite jackets and her Adidas tennis shoes were missing.

Additionally, what seemed to be blood allegedly was discovered on the rear seat of Beckley's car as well as some jeans in the vehicle, whose wheels reportedly matched the atypical width of tire tracks found near White's body.

There was more.

Because crime scene technicians had found a green bungee cord next to White's body, investigators asked Price whether they had any such cords in the house. Price said they had bought a set of bungee cords from U-Haul before a recent move and that one of them was green.

One of the house searches found the set of bungee cords, with the green one missing, the Sheriff's Office narrative alleges. It says the search of Beckley's car then turned up a plastic cap that apparently belonged to the hook on the bungee cord discovered near White's body.

Beckley was arrested May 2. The bungee cord, jeans, DNA swab and sections of both the back seat of his vehicle as well as bedding from White's room were sent to the State Police Crime Lab for testing. No test results have been made publicly available.

Prosecutors in St. Charles Parish charged Beckley in August, and he remains behind bars in lieu of $1 million bail, records show. His next court date is tentatively set for Jan. 18.

Miscellaneous notes

-- In an interview in late April with The New Orleans Advocate, Beckley volunteered that some of White's relatives had long suspected him of sexually abusing her, something he vehemently denied doing. The police account notes that a sexual assault examination was done as part of the autopsy and sent to the state crime lab for testing.

-- Another item found near White's body was a Sprite can, which authorities confiscated and sent off for testing. The police account doesn't address whether investigators believe Beckley left the can there. 

-- According to the police account, one of the first indications Price had that something was wrong on April 22 was that she came home from work to find White's television and fan on. She always turned both off before going to school, Price reportedly said.

-- During her interview with investigators, before Beckley's arrest, Price also indicated that she was troubled that some of White's clothes were gone before she was then found with her rollers in. Price said the girl was very conscious of her appearance and would never go out in public with rollers in her hair.

-- Aside from her rollers, something else that helped investigators identify Jorion's body was a scar near her belly button, which was the result of an appendectomy that she had.

-- Authorities said they checked whether the tires on the car belonging to the couple who discovered White's body might match the wheel marks found near her body. They didn't, the narrative said. 

-- The narrative asserts that, on the night he is believed to have killed Jorion, Beckley left their home in Kenner at 12:25 a.m. and was on camera on St. Rose Avenue 10 minutes later. Beckley was then on camera at the gasoline station just before 1 a.m., making his total trip about a half-hour long.

When detectives later simulated the trip in an unmarked police cruiser, it took them just a little more than 20 minutes to make the trip. But Beckley reportedly told investigators — as he later told The New Orleans Advocate — that his car would frequently overheat, and he would have to pull over to let it cool down while he added more water to the radiator.

Investigators then obtained a warrant to see how long it would take them to make the trip in Beckley's car from his home to St. Rose Avenue and then the gasoline station beginning at 12:25 a.m. It took them the exact amount of time that they believe it took Beckley, according to the narrative — the 10 extra minutes were accounted for when the suspect's car began overheating, and the investigators had to pull over to let it cool down and so that they could add more water to the radiator.

-- In court, Beckley's attorney unsuccessfully argued that the charges in St. Charles Parish against his client should be tossed out. The authorities' theory is that Beckley killed White in Kenner, which is in Jefferson Parish. Therefore, if Beckley was to be charged, he should have been charged in Jefferson, the attorney contended.

Judge Timothy Marcel rejected that argument on Dec. 13. Authorities have said a murder in Louisiana can be prosecuted in the jurisdiction where a victim's body is discovered. Beckley's attorney objected to Marcel's ruling, and he did the same when the judge denied a motion to reduce Beckley's bond. 

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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