Justice for Daniel Ray Underwood
It Was A Murder On September 4, 2008, and It's Still A Murder Today
Beyond the Investigation
___________________ + ____________________
Daniel Ray Underwood, 33, died of a shotgun wound to the head on September 4, 2008, while engaged in an altercation with Rebecca Nelson at his residence in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Rebecca had moved into Daniel's house July 4th weekend, a mere two months prior or his death. He had allowed her to stay at his home to cook, clean and help with bills.
Earlier that evening, Daniel, Rebecca, and a couple of friends, Robin and Maria, went out to a few bars together. Maria had accompanied them back to Daniel’s house.
According to Maria, once there, Daniel and Rebecca got into a heated argument, and Maria fled the room. A short time later, she stepped into the hallway and saw Daniel and Rebecca standing a few feet away with a 12 gauge shotgun. Daniel was confronting and accusing Rebecca of taking a large sum of his cash which he had discovered was missing.
The 911 call began with Rebecca stating, “My fiancé just shot himself in the head on accident!” She goes into a scream/crying fit, but is able to stop and answer the 911 dispatcher very clearly, then reverts back into her hysterics.
Upon their arrival, Law Enforcement began taking photos of Daniel, as he lay dying on the hallway floor, before allowing emergency responders inside to begin their processing and treatment of his major injuries.
Rebecca’s interrogation videos were very poorly conducted, to say the least. The detective already knew her personally and should have considered any ethical dilemmas, and, therefore, recused himself from conducting the interviews.(During the interview she states she has given him tips on other cases and he says he has talked to her on cases before this one.)
Upon entering the interrogation room, Rebecca immediately asked if she could have Daniel’s wallet and credit cards (cards were in Daniel's name only). Detective Fox states that since they are not married, his parents are technically his next of kin and Daniel’s personal effects will be released to them. As questioning begins, Rebecca attempts to portray an idyllic relationship; one with no arguments or financial issues, although Daniel has been unemployed for a short period of time. He had recently quit his job of nearly seven years and cashed in his 401K which was worth roughly $25,000. He had been living off of his retirement money for the last several weeks.
Even before Daniel took his last breath, Rebecca considered everything he owned to be hers. She called numerous people including Daniel's own family and friends, as she was detained at the crime scene, and claimed to be his beneficiary---all the while Daniel was still lying in the hall floor dying from his gunshot wound.
As, if this was not strange enough to claim his property as he was dying, she left the police department after her interview, (also, to be noted, Rebecca arrived at the PD with an ex-boyfriend she was wanting to get back together with...) and rushed back to Daniel's house and began gathering up everything she could steal of his personal belongings to sell for cash. Rebecca deleted information from his laptop she took from the house as well as his cell phone.
His death was almost immediately ruled a suicide, long before any forensic testing or even prior to questions being asked of the people who were around them that evening.
Not only was his death tragic and senseless, it was violent. After obtaining all of the case files, along with the autopsy report, photos and lab results showing traces of GSR on the person of interest, the case should be reopened.
The eyewitness, Maria, has come forward confirming suspicions that this case needs further reviewing. As well as several others who have relevant information regarding their first hand knowledge of Nelson confessing to being the one who fired the gun that killed Daniel.
Rebecca was known to run around with other men even while she was with Daniel.
The family does not believe that Daniel’s death was a suicide. Police did not question the conflicting versions of Rebecca’s story, although she continually contradicted herself. Rebecca agreed to take a polygraph test about the facts of that evening but backed out after consulting with her attorney. However, she told numerous people that she did take the test and passed it with flying colors. There were many mistakes made during the entire course of this investigation and proper protocols were not followed which need to be explained. Her bloody clothes were not collected for evidence, as well as many other numerous items. There was tampering of evidence proven by the crime scene photographs and official reports.The cause of death on Daniel’s death certificate should be officially changed from suicide to homicide or undetermined. That would make it possible for Daniel’s case to be reopened. Then, the investigation should be turned over to an outside agency with which the investigators have no personal relationship with Rebecca or anyone else involved with the case. Daniel was a good person – a loving son – a devoted father – and a hard worker. He deserves a proper investigation.