Ex-math teacher JOHN WATSON arrested in wife's murder
ONTARIO - A retired Ontario school teacher was arrested Thursday night on charges he kidnapped and murdered his wife of more than 20 years. The arrest of John Watson, 66, comes three weeks after Everilda Watson disappeared during a vacation with her husband in Las Vegas. Her body has not been found, but investigators say they have secured enough evidence against John Watson to prove foul play.
"I don't believe she is going to turn up alive," Ontario Police Lt. John Evans said. "Exactly what happened to her is still unknown. We would like to find out to bring closure for her and for her family."
Watson was arrested Thursday night at a restaurant in Claremont. He had with him a wig, a ticket for a bus that was about to leave for El Paso, Texas, several thousand dollars and a fake ID.
"It led us to believe he was about to leave the country," Evans said.
Everilda Watson, 50, was reported missing by her children July 15 after John Watson returned home from Las Vegas without her. He told officers he last saw her in downtown Las Vegas on July 12.
Police consider his story suspicious, however, because they found a large amount of the woman's blood in the couple's Jeep Cherokee, and his explanation for it didn't make sense, they said.
Sources familiar with the investigation said detectives also found evidence that John Watson checked into a Las Vegas motel wearing a disguise and using a fake ID during the trip. Investigators found blood in one of the man's motel rooms. They also found evidence he purchased dry ice, and they located a bloody tarp in Tulare County that they have linked to the woman.
Evans refused to comment on any details of the evidence, but said detectives are certain they have built a strong enough case to prove the murder charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
Detectives initially labeled John Watson a person of interest in the disappearance.
He officially became a suspect when a judge in Las Vegas issued an arrest warrant for him Wednesday night on murder and kidnapping charges. He is being prosecuted in Clark County because that's where detectives believe he killed the woman.
Investigators would not reveal what evidence they had to suggest Watson kidnapped his wife.
Officers from the Claremont and Ontario police departments arrested Watson without incident about 6:30 p.m. Thursday at a Denny's restaurant on Indian Hill Boulevard in Claremont. They took him down and handcuffed him as he walked out of the restaurant toward his bicycle.
He was booked at the Claremont Police Department and was scheduled to be taken to Los Angeles County jail. He will be held in Southern California without bail until he is extradited to Las Vegas to face charges there.
Watson was led into the Claremont police station Thursday night in handcuffs looking haggard and frail. The pockets of his jeans were inside-out and he had no shoes having been freshly searched for weapons by police.
The former Ontario High School math teacher has been living a nomadic life since his wife's disappearance, traveling by public transportation and sleeping in cheap motels in Orange County and Los Angeles.
Scores of Ontario police officers and two Las Vegas Metro Police Detectives spent all day Thursday hunting the man after acquiring the arrest warrant.
Police had been keeping tabs on him throughout the investigation, but they couldn't find him as the morning began.
Nearly two dozen officers started their morning in Santa Ana outside Watson's $40 per night room at the Santa Ana Plaza Motel on First Street.
But he somehow slipped past undercover surveillance officers sometime before detectives arrived to take him into custody.
Investigators fanned out across southern California to find the slow-moving fugitive. The search led them to Claremont, where they found him in the Denny's restaurant waiting for the El Paso bus. They caught him about an hour before the bus was scheduled to leave, Evans said.
Las Vegas Metro Police detectives planned to interview him Thursday night at the Claremont Police Department.
A Las Vegas detective assigned to the case declined to comment on the investigation.
Evans, however, said the decision to arrest and charge Watson wasn't made lightly.
"This has been a major investigation by our two agencies," Evans said. "It took a lot of legwork. We have complied and cooperated with each other throughout in hopes of bringing this guy to justice."
|Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)|