Like a good neighbor

LBPD Homicide Detective Todd Johnson apparently did not find it suspicious that a neighbor named Marian helped Huck clean up blood at the scene, and provided questionable statements to the police. Further, Marian had parked her SUV in front of Huck and Dana’s house just before 7 a.m. on the morning of March 3, 2014. Marian drove away from the house just minutes before Huck left to walk the dog.

Marian’s was the second door west of Huck and Dana’s house

Marian told LBPD Officer Keith Mortensen that she had been an ER nurse for 25 years. Despite her years of experience dealing with blood and other fluids, she was unable to provide any estimate at all regarding how much blood was on the floor of Dana’s house. Mortensen wrote:

I, Officer K. Mortensen #5290, working Unit 2C15 in a marked black and white vehicle assisted 2S20, Sergeant M. Richens #6056 at 7053 Stearns Street regarding an Assault with a Deadly Weapon report call.

Upon arrival, I talked with a neighbor located at 7041 Stearns Street, who Cain Jones identified as a friend who helped him clean the room where the incident had occurred. I talked with Veargin who stated she has known both Dana and Cain for approximately 12 yrs and she has a very close relationship with both.

Veargin stated she arrived home on 03/03/14 at approximately 1530 hrs, and was told by a neighbor that Dana was in the hospital. She called Cain, she refers to him as “Huck” and then drove directly to St. Mary’s Hospital and arrived there at approximately 1630 hrs. Veargin left the hospital and drove home at about 2030 hrs.

The next morning Veargin could not remember if she called Huck or if he called her. She asked him if he needed anything and he asked her if she could go with him to walk the dog. She agreed and they walked to the park with the dog. After the walk, she asked Huck if he needed help with anything else and he asked her if she would help him clean the room where the incident happened and she agreed.

Veargin stated that she had been an ER nurse for 25 years and that the sight of blood does not bother her. Veargin said she was in the house and saw that the door to the Yoga room was closed. She said this was normal in order to keep the dog out of the room. She entered the room and saw that there was a blue yoga mat and a white towel on the ground. She believes there was a couple drops of blood on the yoga mat and stated that she wasn’t paying attention to the towel, so she does not remember if there was any on it.

I asked how much blood was on the ground and she stated that she was not paying attention to it and just helped clean it. I asked if the blood was already dry and she stated that it was. Veargin said that she stayed with Huck the entire time, and she believes that he made a concentrate of warm water, simple green and bleach. He placed this into a bucket and she thinks she used a sponge to clean it up the blood. Veargin said that Huck helped and he used a brush of some kind.

I again asked her how much blood was on the ground and asked her to show me using her hands, and she stated that she really couldn’t say. After cleaning the blood she brought the trash cans to the front of the backyard and Huck threw the towel and yoga mat away.

I asked her if anything seemed out of the ordinary in the room and she stated that she has been in that room several times and nothing looked out of place. I asked her to describe the relationship between the two and she stated, “Total love and devotion.”

I did not ask any further questions.

Marian Yeargin’s statement to Officer Mortensen (pdf)

According to Marian, she used a sponge to clean Dana’s blood off the floor, and Huck used a brush. Huck described it differently to LBPD Officer Edwin Oak:

During this time (he was not exactly sure when, but in the morning time) a neighbor, Marian Yeargin, who lives a couple houses down came over and asked Jones if she could help him with anything. He asked her if she would take a walk with him and they took a long walk around the neighborhood. When they returned to his residence, he asked her if she would help clean up the blood in the recreation room. Since Yeargin use to be a nurse, he said the site of blood did not offend her. Jones could not bare seeing the blood and being reminded of his wife lying there on the ground. Jones and Yeargin went in and washed the dried blood away. Yeargin began to scrub very hard and began to remove the black stain that was on the concrete. This caused a brownish/yellowish color to appear and Jones stopped Yeargin from scrubbing any more. There on the ground, he saw a circle on the concrete where the black stain was scrubbed off and it was a constant reminder to him of where her head was lying when he entered into the room.

Jones stated the cleanup took only a few minutes and he threw away the towels they used to clean up the blood, along with the yoga mat that was in the room. He placed a candleholder where her head was and lit several candles. The trash was picked up that day so the yoga mat and t-shirt used to clean the floor were no longer in his possession.

Huck’s statement to Officer Edwin Oak (pdf)

Marian said they threw away a blue yoga mat that had “a couple drops of blood” on it, and a white towel on which she could not remember seeing any blood at all. Huck said they threw away towels, a yoga mat, and a t-shirt. Whose t-shirt?

One paramedic estimated that, at most, there were 20 drops of blood on the yoga-room floor (pdf). Why was so much vigorous scrubbing and toweling required to clean mere drops of dried blood from black-stained concrete?

One theory suggests that Marian helped Huck clean up a large amount of blood in the master bath before the 911 call on the morning of March 3, 2014. A former ER nurse would be able to stanch the bleeding of Dana’s massive head wound.

A former ER nurse would know how to stage Dana in the yoga room — before first responders arrived — to allay suspicion. If the first responders had seen a lot of blood at the scene — if Dana’s hair had been matted with blood, for instance, or if her clothes had been drenched in blood, first responders would have known immediately that she had sustained a severe head injury. As it was, the first responders weren’t sure what was wrong with Dana, and they misidentified the deep, long laceration in her scalp as a hematoma. (Paramedic statements to police pdf.)

Marian parks in front of Huck’s house

Marian parked her SUV at the curb in front of Huck and Dana’s house on the morning of March 3, 2014, just before 7 a.m. Where had she been at that hour? Why did she park in front of Huck’s house instead of her own house, or in her own driveway? Huck looked out of his front window several times prior to her arrival, as if waiting for her.

One theory suggests that Marian walked two doors down to her own house, continued walking through her back yard, down the public footpath, and entered Huck’s house from the back. Surveillance cameras in the back of Huck’s house recorded only a few minutes of video all morning, suggesting the cameras were switched off for almost three hours.

Marian told Mortensen that a neighbor had informed her of Dana’s injury. However, Marian’s neighbors told a different story to LBPD Officer Tina Icorn:

“[Neighbor M] told me the following: …He was standing in his front yard with [Neighbor F] yesterday around 1700 when his neighbor [Marian] pulled her vehicle alongside the curb and told them she had just checked her messages and found [Huck] had called saying Dana had fallen and was in the hospital. When she returned around 2100 hours, she told him she thinks Dana will die. Dana had hit her head doing yoga and slipped or blacked out. She hit her head on something…. [Neighbor F] told me the following. …She was in front of their home yesterday with [Neighbor M] when their neighbor, [Marian], pulled over to tell them she had checked her messages and found [Huck] had called saying Dana was in the hospital.”

Officer Icorn’s report (pdf)

The neighbors’ statements contradicted Marian’s claim that they had told her about Dana’s injury. Instead, Marian was telling people the story Huck wanted everyone to believe: that Dana “hit her head doing yoga.”

Marian gets in her car and drives away

Marian exited her house just minutes before Huck left his house to walk the dog, thus setting his alibi in motion. One theory suggests that he walked down the street with Dana’s iPad under his jacket, and entered the public footpath along the golf course. Marian’s house was likely within range of his own WiFi network. There, he used Dana’s iPad to purchase a purse, and started playing the yoga video.

Huck and Marian’s houses were on a public footpath

Marian put her house up for sale just days after Dana’s “yoga accident,” and moved to a different state soon after. None of this information piqued the curiosity of LBPD Homicide Detective Todd Johnson.

Next: Compromised detective

Related: 8. Foul is Fair