MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (WPHL) — Montgomery County Officials have arrested the person responsible for the murder of the missing Montgomery County mother, Jennifer Brown.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele and Limerick Township Police Chief Robert J. Matalavage announced that 33-year-old Blair Watts has been arrested for the murder.
Watts was a business partner and friend of Jennifer Brown who had plans of opening a restaurant called ‘Birdies Kitchen” together.
The news of 43-year-old Jennifer Brown’s disappearance came out on January 3rd, 2023 after she was scheduled to pick her 8-year-old son up from the bus stop but never came.
DA Steele has revealed that Watts was the person who notified police about Brown’s disappearance. Watts’ had noticed Brown’s failure to pick up her son because Brown’s eight-year-old son spent the previous night at Watts’ house so the tired mother could have “a break”.
Investigators and family members knew something was wrong when Jennifer didn’t pick up her son, especially when they found out that she didn’t send any clothing or medication with the boy for the sleepover.
During the initial investigation, Brown’s vehicle was found parked outside of her home, and her keys, wallet, purse, and work cell phone were all inside. The only item missing was her personal cell phone which hadn’t been used since the morning of January 4th.
Officers brought in a K-9 cadaver dog trained in detecting human remains for the search of Brown’s home. The search found no obvious signs of a struggle, but detectives found pieces of a broken black and white marble patterned hairclip in the carpet, where the K-9 dog had alerted them.
The case stumped investigators for weeks, but on January 18th her body was found buried in a shallow grave in Royersford, PA.
Investigators were able to determine what the plastic pieces were because pieces of the hair clip were also found in the shallow grave with Brown’s body.
An autopsy conducted on Brown’s body had determined that Jennifer had been killed on Jan. 2nd, one day prior to the news of her disappearance.
Jennifer had three broken ribs, and Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Michael Milbourne ruled the death as a homicide.
The joint investigation by the Limerick Police Department and Montgomery County Detectives found that Watts had picked up Jennifer’s 8-year-old son from the school bus, informing the boy that his mom was at the grocery store, and invited him to sleep over at his house.
Watt then took the boy and drove him to his townhouse. While Watts went inside, the boy noticed that “Mr. Blair” had his mom’s personal cellphone”. The boy told police he was able to recognize it because the phone had his school photo as its lock screen image.
Investigators pulled cellphone data and found that at 6:37 a.m. on January 4th, Watts’ cellphone
Brown’s cell phone was traveling together to and from Watts’ home. At 7 a.m. the phone registered activity near North Lewis, right before the phone went inactive.
Detectives were also able to find out that Watts drove a grey Jeep Renegade, owned by his
wife, and a red Jeep Cherokee, which was his own.
Officers obtained search warrants and the K-9 dog alerted police to the backseat area of the Jeep Cherokee and the floor mat from behind the driver’s seat in the Jeep Renegade, which meant human remains had previously been in both vehicles.
As part of their investigation, Detectives also looked into the joint business Watts and Brown was planning to have. They found that in August. 28, 2022, Brown and Watts had entered into a business partnership agreement with Watts to invest money into “Birdies Kitchen.
On the afternoon of January 3rd, the day Jennifer went missing, two cash transfers were made to accounts controlled by Watts. CashApp records showed a $9,000 transfer and an $8,000 transfer in Zelle, which were both addressed to Birdies Kitchen.
According to police, this $17,000 was never part of the joint business agreement between Brown and Watts.
The owners of the property Watts and Brown were planning to lease, told detectives they met with Watts in August 2022, but they never signed a lease or gave Watts a key to the property.
The only thing they did allow was for Watts to hang a temporary banner on the building and to store some equipment outside. No renovation work was ever done on the property and there were no signs the restaurant was ready to be opened, as planned.
Police say that on Dec. 28, 2022, one of the property owners told Watts that
they would not be moving forward with the lease and that Watts had threatened to sue.
On Jan. 4th, Watts had shown up at the property again saying he had money to put down for the lease.
This is what authorities believe led to the murder of Jennifer Brown.
“For 37 days since this devoted mother was reported missing, detectives
have been accumulating evidence, piece by piece, bringing into focus what happened
to Jennifer and who murdered her,” said DA Steele. “That picture shows Blair Watts
murdered Jennifer Brown on Jan. 3rd, then moved her body and ultimately buried
her in a shallow grave. He is now behind bars at the Montgomery County Correctional
Watts has been charged with:
- First-Degree Murder
- Third Degree Murder
- Theft by Unlawful Taking/Disposition
- Access Device Fraud
Watts is awaiting arraignment at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, where a preliminary hearing will be set.