A former business partner of Jennifer Brown, a Pennsylvania mother found dead last month, has been arrested and charged with her murder, the Montgomery County District Attorney announced Thursday.
Blair Watts, 33, faces first and third degree murder charges in Brown’s death. She was found partially buried in a shallow grave behind a warehouse in Royersford, about 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia, in January after Watts reported her missing earlier that month.
On Jan. 4, Watts told police that Brown, 43, failed to retrieve his 8-year-old son from the school bus after the boy spent the night at Watts’ home, prosecutors said. said in a press release. Detectives later discovered that Watts, who was Brown’s business partner in a planned reopening of the Birdie’s Kitchen restaurant, picked up Brown’s son from the school bus on the afternoon of January 3. Watts allegedly told the boy that Brown was at the grocery store. and that the boy was to spend the night at Watts.
Watts then drove the boy to Brown’s home and left him in the car while Watts went inside, the statement said. Upon his return, the boy noticed that Watts had his mother’s cellphone, prosecutors said.
Police cadaver dogs found signs of human remains inside Brown’s home and in Watts’ car.
Watts’ attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brown had planned to invest the money in Watts’ restaurant in Phoenixville, Birdie’s Kitchen, which was to open in late January, prosecutors said. The day before Brown disappeared, two cash transfers totaling $17,000 were made to accounts controlled by Watts.
The owners of the Phoenixville property where the restaurant was supposed to open said that although they spoke with Watts last year about renting the building, they never signed a lease with him, and Watts never signed a lease. no work in the building to prepare for the opening of the restaurant. . In December, according to prosecutors, the landlords told Watts they would not grant him the lease, and Watts threatened to sue. Then, on Jan. 4, Watts drove to the property “saying he had money to take out a lease,” prosecutors said.
While Brown was still missing, Watts spoke to local media about her disappearance. He told NBC Philadelphia in January that he had “nothing to do” with her disappearance.
“Just because I’m the last person to see her doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “It looks like I’m the one being stalked. And it’s frustrating because I’m the first person to call the police, trying to break down the windows. Trying to find my friend. Trying to make sure her son is covered.”
Watts is being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility pending arraignment.