Last Modified: Thursday, July 25, 2013 6:35 PM
The main suspect in the killing of a Vinton woman was indicted in a Texas court, authorities said.
Joshua Latham, 27, was indicted on one count of murder and one count of tampering with evidence, Newton County District Attorney Robert Choate said.
Latham is accused of strangling Tami Diane Higginbotham, 41, in February.
Latham was indicted on a count of non-capital murder, a charge that is considered a first-degree felony in Texas and carries a sentence of five years to life in prison, Choate said. Tampering with evidence is a second-degree felony and carries a sentence of two to 20 years in prison, he said.
Choate said Latham was charged with tampering with evidence because he is believed to have concealed Higginbotham’s body “after he was aware an investigation was going on.”
Latham is in jail in Orange County, Texas, until Aug. 31 for violating his probation on a 2011 charge of burglary, said Orange County sheriff’s Sgt. Chad Hogan said.
Hogan said the incident occurred on March 11, 2011, and in December 2011, Latham received a sentence that deferred prison for six years’ probation.
In April, he was sentenced to 180 days in jail and four more years of probation for violating the terms of his original probation, Hogan said.
Choate said proceedings against Latham in Newton County will not begin until Latham is transferred there.
Higginbotham reportedly went to Texas on Feb. 8 to meet Latham, whom she knew, and sell him a cellphone.
When she did not return, her family reported her missing on Feb. 9, and the truck she had driven was found at a Texas fishing camp.
Authorities found Latham at his brother’s house in Maryville, Tenn.
Choate said Latham told authorities where to find Higginbotham’s body — which was discovered near a hunting camp off Texas 62 on Feb. 15.