HICKORY, N.C. -- Two brothers accused of killing a 78-year-old man remain in jail after making their first appearance in Catawba County Court Thursday.
Investigators arrested Thomas and Rodney Ball in connection to an elderly Catawba County man's disappearance after his body was found in a wooded area behind his home.
If found guilty, the brothers could face a punishment of death or life in prison without parole. Both men retained attorney Ted Cummings for the time being while they apply for an attorney with the state Captial Defender's Office.
Initially, detectives questioned Tabitha Harrison and Thomas Ball on the whereabouts of 78-year-old Benny Ashley Daniels, who's been missing since Saturday night.
Deputies initially said they believed and charged Harrison and Ball for breaking into Benny's section of his Hickory house around the time he went missing, as they had been renting a basement apartment from him; however, detectives determined that wasn't the case. Now, Catawba County Sheriff's Investigators are saying two brothers, Thomas Ball and Rodney Ball, got into an argument with Benny inside Benny's home. The fight escalated and Benny ended up getting killed. Sheriff Coy Reid says Benny's body was found buried in a wooded area behind his home. "At this time, we're going to finish what we need to collect at the scene, finish processing the suspects, also question Tabitha," Sheriff Reid said. It's not clear if Harrison will face charges in connection to the case. Brandan Daniels said family members last spoke to his father on Saturday evening. Afterwards, they were unable to reach him, prompting Brandan to visit his father's home."Something just didn't seem right," he said. "The house was destroyed like it was broken into."Brandan reported him missing on Monday.He's especially concerned because his father has diabetes and may need his insulin."We have no clue what's going on," Brandan Daniels said. "We need answers."Neighbors describe Benny Ashley Daniels as a quiet guy who keeps to himself. It makes his suspicious disappearance all the more troubling.“It alarms me as a parent,” Krystal Saine said.Some neighbors are worried but not surprised.They said they've noticed suspicious activity happening in the neighborhood over the past year.“We've had several people come down here, two, three o'clock in the morning, wasted out of their minds and trying to beg for money and whatever,” Randy Watson explained.If you have any information call the Catawba County Sheriff's Department at 828-465-0671.