The Mesa Police Department has arrested a Queen Creek couple they are investigating for a murder that occurred on Dec. 28 at 260 W. 8th Ave in Mesa.
According to Mesa police, a man was found dead in the roadway from a gunshot wound, but there were no shell casings found around his body or any witnesses who may have seen what happened. Officers from multiple divisions within the police department worked together to watch video surveillance, comb through cellular data, and write and serve numerous search warrants.
Within two days, a suspect was in custody because of the work by members of Mesa's Homicide Unit, the Special Operations Division, the Real Time Crime Center, and Mesa police partners at the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
"Without their dedication to solving this case, the suspect may never have been caught," Mesa police said.
On Dec. 30, just after 11 p.m., Mesa police arrested Heath Daniel, 33, for first degree murder. Daniel’s wife, Vanessa Daniel, 37, was also arrested for hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence.
On Dec. 28, just before 7 a.m., Mesa police responded to 260 W. 8th Ave. for reports of a “man down” in the roadway. It was discovered that the man, later identified as Jose Olvera Ramirez, 31, had been shot. Ramirez was pronounced dead on scene.
With no witnesses to what may have occurred and very little evidence on scene, Mesa detectives from the Homicide Unit turned to video surveillance cameras in the surrounding area to help piece together what may have occurred. Video from the Circle K at the corner of 8th Avenue and Country Club Drive showed Ramirez interacting with someone in a white passenger car just 10 minutes before officers were dispatched to the scene. The driver of the car was a man wearing a dark hat with the letters “NY” on it. The car had identifiable damage to the bumper and was picked up by other surveillance cameras, which ultimately gave police officers a license plate and registered owner, Heath Daniel.
Cellular phone records were obtained and showed Daniel’s phone in the area of the murder at the time it occurred, according to the Mesa police report.
On Dec. 30, Mesa police served multiple search warrants for various locations associated with Daniel. At Daniel’s Queen Creek house, officers found a dark hat with “NY” on it along with an empty gun box for a 45-caliber pistol. Daniel’s vehicle was found at a relative’s house, where he and his wife, Vanessa Daniel, asked them to hold on to it and a box of 45-caliber cartridges. Mesa police said. Fired and unfired 45-caliber casings were found in and on Daniel’s vehicle. Officers also learned, at another location, Daniel said he shot a man and even showed a 45-caliber handgun to a witness, according to the police report.
While Mesa officers were serving the search warrants, information was obtained that Daniel had left the area in a separate vehicle. DPS assisted Mesa police and located Daniel and his wife traveling southbound on Interstate 10 toward Tucson.
Both Heath and Vanessa Daniel were transported back to Mesa, where they were both booked into jail.
Heath Daniel was booked into jail under the charges of first degree murder, a class 1 felony, and prohibited possessor, a class 4 felony. He is being held on a $500,000 bond. Vanessa Daniel was booked into jail under the charges of hindering prosecution, a class 3 felony, and tampering with evidence, a class 6 felony.