Case to go to the Newton County Grand Jury
The case of the missing Louisiana woman which is now worked as a homicide case will now go to the Grand Jury in Newton County on July 18.
Autopsy reports indicate Tami Higgenbotham, 41, was strangled to death. Joshua Latham, 26, of Mauriceville is considered to be a “person of interest,” according to Robert Smith, of the Texas Rangers.
According to Robert Choate, Newton County District Attorney, the case will be presented to the Grand Jury and they will decide what charges will be filed. They could be tampering which is a second degree felony up to first degree murder charges.
‘We will see what indictment they choose to return,” Choate said.
Latham is in the Orange County Jail after he violated his probation and was sentenced in March to 180 days in jail and his probation term was extended four years.
If the grand jury returns an indictment against Latham, and after completing his jail term in September, he could be transferred to Newton County to face the charges. Choate said.
Higgenbotham, left her residence on Feb. 8 from Vinton, La. to go to Orange. Her truck was found later at Blue Bird’s Fish Camp on Simmons Drive, but she was no where to be found. During the trip to Orange she had texted her sister, Staci Robinson, saying she was going to sell her phone to Joshua Latham. Higgenbotham wanted to upgrade so she had decided to sell her phone. Around 1 p.m. Higgenbotham sent a text to her sister saying Latham wanted her to help him pick out wedding rings. By 1:30 the texts from Higgenbotham stopped.
Knowing it was odd for her sister since she was “always connected”, Robinson became worried and tried repeatedly to call her but each call went straight to voice mail.
Robinson later went to the fish camp and showed a picture of her sister to people in the area. They told her they had seen Higgenbotham and she had gotten into a vehicle with Latham. However, when Robinson asked Latham if he had seen her sister, he denied ever meeting up with her. Latham’s girlfriend told Robinson Latham was at work on the day of the disappearance. However, Robinson would later learn he didn’t have a job.
Latham, who was wanted in connection with the disappearance of Higginbotham, fled the area.
He was arrested a few days later, Feb. 14, in Maryville, Tennessee. Orange police contacted local officials in Maryville, and told them Latham had relatives in the area.
Maryville police checked the relative’s residence, and found Latham, along with his girlfriend, and their two-week -old infant. The woman and child were reported to be safe. He was held on charges he violated his felony probation.
Detectives and the Texas Ranger went to Tennessee to interview Latham concerning the disappearance of Higgenbotham. During the interview he reportedly told them where Higgenbotham’s body could be found.
Investigators went in search of the location north of Mauriceville on Feb. 15 where they found Higginbotham’s body in a heavily wooded, hunting lease in Newton County. Police said there were certain features on the body that matched descriptions of the missing woman. Further testing and autopsy results would reveal it was indeed her.
As of press time, no murder charges have been filed against Latham.