POLK COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A suspect in the death of a man last seen alive on Feb. 28 turned himself into Polk County Sheriff's Office deputies at the Scenic Loop store on March 10 and was booked into the jail on a first-degree murder charge.
The arrest followed a lengthy investigation by the Polk County Sheriff's Office's Criminal Investigation Division and a Texas Ranger.
Simon Villanueva, 41, of Livingston, is still being held in the Polk County Jail on a first-degree murder charge, and a felony possession of a controlled substance less than 1 gram charge. Collectively, his bail amount has been set at $600,000.
According to a press release, the Polk County Sheriff's Office took a missing person report about Darrell Parsons on March 6. The complainant said that Parson had not been seen or heard from since Feb. 28, and he had last been seen in the Shelter Cove subdivision near Livingston wearing a red T-shirt, blue jeans, and a camo jacket.
Polk County Sheriff Kenneth Hammack said his deputies were told Parsons had been living "on and off" at a home in the 400 block of West Sherwood, but the occupants had recently moved out. When the PCSO deputies went to the residence, they noticed a strong odor coming from the home.
"Detectives gained entry into the residence after being unable to get an answer at the door," the press release stated. "Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff's Office said inside the residence they found an unidentified deceased male inside the residence."
The unidentified man's body was taken to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences to be identified and examined for the cause of death.
PCSO detectives started interviewing people in that neighborhood and found that Villanueva was the previous tenant of the home. They also learned that Villanueva had left the Livingston area days before the unidentified body was found in the home on West Sherwood.
"Texas Ranger Danny Young from Company A, division of the Texas Rangers joined the investigation assisting with evidence gathering and interviewing individuals from the Shelter Cove area," the press release stated. "Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff's Office petitioned the courts and obtained a warrant for Simon Villanueva, for Possession of a Controlled Substance with a 100,000.00 bond, at which time the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force begin Looking for Simon Villanueva."
Hammack said that on March 9, the sheriff's office was notified that the body had been identified as that of Parsons. Parsons' cause of death was ruled a homicide, the press release stated.
The next day, Villanueva called the Polk County Sheriff's Office and said he was waiting for deputies at the Scenic Loop store because he had heard authorities were looking for him. PCSO detectives located Villanueva and took him to the sheriff's office.
PCSO detectives then interviewed Villanueva in regard to Parson's death. Villanueva was arrested and charged with murder after confessing that he killed Parsons, the press release stated.
The bail amount on the murder charge was set by Pct. Justice of the Peace Jaimie Jones.