Homicide probe yet to identify a suspect

Dec. 27, 2013 @ 04:34 PM

Investigators are still searching for clues in the apparent shooting death of Roger Dell Tant.

Tant was found dead, with a gunshot wound, on Sunday afternoon. Vance County Sheriff Peter White said the probe so far indicates Tant may have been killed on Thursday, Dec. 19, three days earlier.

On Monday, a warrant affidavit certified by Superior Court Judge Henry Hight as meeting probable cause to conduct a legal search was executed at Tant’s Weldon’s Mill Road residence.

White said he hopes anyone with information that can help solve the case will call the Vance County Sheriff’s Office at (252) 738-2200 or Crime Stoppers at (252) 492-1925.

Rewards of up to $2,000 are available, and informant identities are kept confidential. Crime Stoppers can be accessed online at hvcrimestoppers.com.

According to a warrant affidavit, investigators wanted hair, fiber, fingerprint, firearm, ammunition, shell casings and DNA evidence available at 3985 Weldon’s Mill Road, Lot 14.

Det. Donny Thomas wrote the affidavit narrative, stating that a friend of Tant’s, Charles Raines, called 911 at about 3 p.m. Sunday. Raines let authorities know that he could see Tant’s body lying on the floor and surrounded by blood in the living room of the singlewide trailer home.

Numerous deputies from the sheriff’s office responded to the scene, according to Thomas. Officers reported that a very strong odor was indication that Tant had been dead for some time. Raines indicated he had been trying to make contact with Tant for the previous three days.

Thomas added that at approximately 5:19 p.m., Dr. James Goodwin, who is the medical examiner for Vance County, arrived at the scene to conduct an examination of the victim.

“Goodwin did not locate any external wounds initially because of the condition of the victim’s body and the lack of lighting,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas added that Goodwin suggested transporting the body to the Maria Parham Medical Center morgue. While moving the body toward the door, “a gunshot wound was located at the victim’s right upper chest,” he wrote.

Investigators documented the discovery of the gunshot wound, and the body was then transported to the hospital. Deputies then marked the perimeter of the property as a crime scene and contacted the State Bureau of Investigation for further assistance in processing evidence.

Thomas noted in his written comments there were no obvious signs of a struggle at the scene, but several beer containers had been knocked over. Tant was wearing a holster for a handgun, but no handgun was found in the immediate area.

Found at the scene was a spent .38 shell casing on the living room floor, a live round under a refrigerator, a projectile from the east wall of the living room and a projectile from the floor on the east side of the living room, according to the narrative.

Also part of the forensic process was the cutting of a swatch from a blue chair, Thomas added.

Logged as seized during the search was a shotgun found in a secondary bedroom, ammunition from the master bedroom and a cellphone. Deputies also processed several beer containers and packs of cigarettes found on a coffee table.

Investigators interviewed Tant’s ex-wife, who according to Thomas resided at another lot in the same area of the trailer park. Thomas did not include any details of that interview.

The warrant documents indicated no sign of a handgun being found during the search.


Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.