How a fresh set of eyes helped crack the 2020 Dutton Lake murder

Daniela Hurtado Image
Tuesday, June 4, 2024
How a fresh set of eyes helped crack the 2020 Dutton Lake murder
The financial records of Daniel Howey, whose body was found in Dutton Lake in 2020, led to two men being charged with his murder, investigators say.

CHAMBERS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A fresh set of eyes at the Chambers County Sheriff's Office helped crack the 2020 murder case of a man found dead in Dutton Lake.

This week, two men are facing murder charges in connection to the death of Daniel Howey.

Howey was a 37-year-old man who needed a wheelchair and had intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Investigators say his life ended at Dutton Lake in 2020 over money.

"Mr. Howey was basically discarded like a bag of trash," Chambers County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Lt. Tanner Dickens said. "He was primarily in the care of that group home, and Mr. Richardson kind of took care of him per se."

Eyewitness News reported on the Harris County group home before for its bad conditions and alleged questionable care.

Howey was found dead dozens of miles away in Chambers County on Oct. 13, 2020.

Detectives told ABC13 it was five months after he received a $1.2 million settlement in a personal injury case.

"The detectives started doing a dive into Mr. Howey's finances and looking into his bank accounts. When they took that dive, they found that a substantial amount of money was going missing," Dickens said.

Investigators told ABC13 that eyewitnesses say Howey threatened to report Richardson for stealing his settlement money.

Law enforcement says a second man, Shaun Sandles, is charged in Howey's murder as Richardson's accomplice. According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice records, Sandles is currently sitting in prison for an unrelated conviction for injury to a disabled person.

"I don't know the extent of his involvement in the finances, but I believe he was an acquaintance of Mr. Richardson," Dickens said.

As for Richardson, along with this murder charge, he's simultaneously in trouble with the law out of Harris County for his accused role in several crimes involving the group home.

He currently has eight open court cases that include allegations of injury to a disabled person, aggravated assaults, exploitation, and theft.

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