Family Members want Murder Suspect to turn Himself in to Police

By: Muriel Bailey Email
By: Muriel Bailey Email

COWARTS, AL--The crime tape is still up and the scene remains active as investigators search the mobile home and yard where 68-year-old Joseph "Joe" Hendley was fatally shot.

"From the evidence recovered it looks like there might have been a possibility of two rounds fired one round struck the victim," said Houston County Captain Antonio Gonzalez.

When police arrived on the scene they found Hendley inside the home shot to death.
Police say they have strong reason to believe they have the right suspect.

"The reports are he had made a phone call to a family member describing what had happened," added Gonzalez.

That phone call allegedly came from the suspect, 40-year-old Michael Tharp.

Hendley's wife, Tharp's mother, says Tharp may have wanted money for something.

"Alcohol, possibly drugs," explained Saundra Hendley.

She says although that's a possible reason behind the shooting, her son and her husband got along.

"They had a good relationship."

Tharp's mother says because of that, she's shocked.

"If my son would have been in his right state of mind, he would have never ever done this," explained Mrs. Hendley.

Investigators believe Tharp fled in a white 2001 F-150 pick-up truck with Alabama handicapped license plate Zero-- H -- One -- T -- 8 (0H1T8).

Family members say the truck also has a sticker on the rear window.

Police say they're searching the tri-state area.

"We're hunting him continuously, it doesn't stop until we capture the individual and charge him," said Captain Gonzalez.

Tharp's mother says she has a message for him.

"Michael this is your mother and I love you please please turn yourself in and please get the help that you need please," said Saundra Hendley.

Investigators say they got word last night that Tharp may have been heading to Seminole County, Georgia.

They say that information has been looked into and cleared.

Investigators say a weapon was recovered on the scene, but they still believe Tharp is armed and say he should be considered dangerous.


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