A 33-year-old Royersford man was charged Thursday with murder in the death of Jennifer Brown.
Brown, 43, also of Royersford, the mother of an 8-year-old boy, disappeared on Jan. 4. Community and family members looked for Brown for weeks until police found her body in a shallow grave in Royersford Borough on Jan. 18.
Blair Watts, who was Brown’s business partner in a restaurant that Watts planned to open, “Birdie’s Kitchen,” was charged with homicide in her death, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele. Watts had reported her disappearance to the police. He was later found to have given inconsistent statements, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Police found transfers from Brown’s phone through phone apps of $9,000 and $8,000 to Watts around the time of her disappearance.
Investigators linked small pieces of plastic found in her house’s carpet to hair clips found with her body, indicating a struggle. Also, Watts had taken Brown’s son to his house and to school, where a teacher told police that the boy, who is autistic, had not had his medication.
Friends and family described Brown as a loving mother who would not have left her son. Her disappearance shook the normally peaceful community.
A forensic pathologist determined Brown’s death was a homicide. A cadaver dog found indications of human remains in Brown’s house and a nearby dumpster. Cellphone pings showed Watts had been near the location where Brown’s body was found, police said.
Also, detectives learned Watts drove a grey Jeep Renegade, owned by his wife, and a red Jeep Cherokee. They obtained search warrants for both vehicles. The cadaver dog indicated on the backseat area of the Jeep Cherokee and indicated on the floor mat taken from behind the driver’s seat in the Jeep Renegade, meaning that human remains had previously been in each of the Jeeps that Watts drove, police said.
“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 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 Facility.”
Watts was arrested Thursday on charges of first-degree murder, third-degree murder, theft by unlawful taking, and access device fraud. He was awaiting arraignment at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility and a preliminary hearing will be scheduled at that time. First Assistant District Attorney Edward F. McCann Jr. and Assistant District Attorney Lindsey T. Mills will prosecute the case.