NEWTON, N.C. – The guilt or innocence of the man charged with the murder of a Newton school counselor may hinge, in part, on an unusual clue discovered by police detectives.
Margaret Daniels was found dead on the floor of her apartment on June 28.
A neighbor, 34-year old Sharman Odom, has been charged with murder, kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault.
During Daniels' autopsy, the Medical Examiner found a number of white hairs ranging from two to four-inches in length; the Medical Examiner determined the hairs were not human.
The discovery of the hairs is detailed in the affidavit for one of the search warrants that were unsealed last week.
The search warrants were for Daniels' apartment and Odom's apartment, which is not far away.
The affidavit says the hairs turned out to be from a dog, but neither Daniels nor Odom owned a dog.
However, someone close to Daniels did.
Early on June 27, the day she was killed, Daniels was spotted on a surveillance camera leaving a local Walmart where she had gone shopping with a friend.
That friend owns a Jack Russell terrier that is primarily white and a terrier mix. Daniels had played with the dogs in the past.
Less than 24 hours after she was at the Walmart, Daniels was murdered and sexually assaulted.
When detectives got the warrant to search Odom's apartment, the affidavit says they discovered a wet cardboard box with clumps of wet hair. The affidavit goes on to say that it appeared someone had dumped the contents of a vacuum cleaner into the box.
When detectives sifted the contents of the box they found white hairs, two to four-inches long that were similar to the hairs found on the body of Maggie Daniels.
While Newton Police will not say much other than what is contained in the affidavit, it appears investigators believe that Odom vacuumed his clothes after the murder and dumped the bag into the cardboard box.
Investigators found the box on the back steps of Odom's apartment, along with other trash he had neglected to take to the apartment complex dumpster.