- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

MONTEREY, La. (AP) - The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office says it believes a cousin of a dead man may have been involved in his disappearance and death. Chief Deputy David Hedrick tells the Natchez Democrat (http://bit.ly/24BFDJU) that Hartwell L. Tiffee, currently jailed for having an illegal gun, is a “person of interest” in Duell Moreland’s case.

Tiffee, 34, was arrested Saturday after investigators found a sawed-off shotgun while searching his residence.

Hedrick said deputies are interviewing multiple people, after a grandfather found what appears to be Moreland’s body April 30. He said investigators intend to conduct polygraph tests, but wouldn’t say who else is being investigated besides Tiffee. Hedrick said investigators have warrants to search four other properties in the case.

The sheriff’s office is treating the Moreland case as a homicide while it waits for the identity of the remains to be confirmed. The body is being analyzed by Louisiana State University’s Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Laboratory, and Hedrick said the lab is also examining physical evidence found in the case.

“It can take up to six weeks,” he said. “I know that sounds unfair to the family. I know the loved ones want to have a funeral ceremony so they can pay their respects, but the evidence that can be gained will be invaluably helpful in bringing the family justice.”

Hedrick said deputies might not be able to complete a case until the lab completes its work.

The 26-year-old Moreland had been missing since March 29. He was found April 30 by Rufus “Buddy” Tiffee, the grandfather with whom Moreland lived.

Tiffee said he was able to identify the body because it was still wearing a pair of his own rubber boots he had loaned to his missing grandson. Also, Moreland had a steel implant in his ankle from an injury he sustained while horseback riding as a teenager. The metal implant, Tiffee said, was visible to him when he discovered the body.

Tiffee said the body appeared to have been burned

Moreland’s mother, Kim Murrell, said the family was led to the location of the body by a tip they received from a local woman. Family members have complained that Concordia Parish authorities did too little to search Moreland, a claim the sheriff’s office disputes.

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Information from: Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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