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Arrest Made in 2012 Walton Co. Murder Case

By: Press Release
By: Press Release

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2013

Sheriff Michael A. Adkinson, Jr. announces the arrest of Barry Davis, 27, of DeFuniak Springs, in the homicide of Heidi Rhodes, 41, of Panama City Beach, and John Hughes, 49, of Santa Rosa Beach. These charges stem from months of investigation and over 2,000 man hours by Walton County Sheriff’s Office investigators. Law enforcement have served numerous search warrants and subpoenas, exhausted leads, conducted interviews and worked with several other jurisdictions during the length of this case. The Walton County Sheriff’s Office has working closely with the State Attorney’s Office in conjunction with this case.

As a result of their efforts, investigators identified Davis as a suspect.

In May 2012, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office began a missing person investigation involving Heidi Rhodes and John Hughes. Rhodes dog, Molly, was also unable to be located. They were last heard from by family and friends early in May. No indication was made by the couple that they were moving or going out of town. A welfare check of Hughes home found it to be empty, with his two vehicles missing.

During the investigation, Davis became a person of interest. He last saw Hughes and Rhodes on May 7, 2012. According to Davis, he was hired by Hughes to pack a rental truck with his furniture and personal belongings from his Seagrove Beach home. He also stated to investigators he was asked to sell Hughes’ car and manage his properties. Hughes’ car, a Corvette, was located in Central Florida where it had been sold by Davis’ for $15,000. The investigation also led law enforcement to find some of Hughes’ property located at a local storage facility, rented in Davis’ name. Other property belonging to Hughes was located at a local pawn shop and in Davis’ home in Argyle. Witnesses told law enforcement Davis had given items to them as payment for work they had done for him as laborers. These items were verified to be personal belongings of Hughes, including a lamp. Evidence gathered from the lamp was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Lab. The blood identified on the lamp belonged to John Hughes. Another one of the belongings given away was identified as Rhodes’ dog Molly.

Davis was seen by numerous individuals driving another vehicle belonging to Hughes, a Cadillac Escalade, for several weeks after Hughes and Rhodes disappearance in May. The Escalade was found several months later parked and covered with a tarp on the backside of a property in DeFuniak Springs. Upon recovery of the Escalade, it was processed for evidence.

Through a research of financial transactions, Davis was found to have made numerous debits from Hughes’ accounts after the couple’s disappearance. Leads show Davis benefited financially and materially via Hughes’ assets and property.

Information obtained throughout the investigation, along with witness testimony and evidence have linked Davis to the murders of Heidi Rhodes and John Hughes.


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