Sunday, October 3, 2010

Daniel Underwood

On September 4, 2008, 33-year-old Daniel Ray Underwood, his girlfriend Rebecca Nelson, and a friend, Maria Harvick, were at a bar in East Fork, Texas. The three then went back to the home Daniel and Rebecca shared inSulphur Springs, Texas. According to Maria, once there, Daniel and Rebecca got into an argument and Maria left the room. A short time later she went back into the room and saw Daniel holding a shotgun in his right hand and accusing Rebecca of taking all his money and burying him in debt. Rebecca grabbed the gun and a struggle ensued. Maria again left the room, and a few seconds later she heard the gun go off. When she stepped back into the hallway she saw Daniel fall to the floor, mortally wounded.

Was Daniel’s death an accident, a suicide, or a homicide? The answer might depend on who you talk to and when.
In Rebecca Nelson’s first interview with the police she stated that Daniel bent his head over the gun’s barrel and pulled the trigger, making it an apparent case of suicide.

However, Donna Underwood, Daniel’s mother, isn’t buying that explanation. In her analysis of the police investigation, the statements made by Rebecca Nelson and Maria Harvick, and statements made directly to her by Maria, she believes her son’s death was a homicide.

In her opinion, the police made little effort to learn all the facts surrounding Daniel’s death. And in Rebecca’s second taped interview with the police, mention was made of “work” she did for law enforcement. Donna believes Rebecca may have been a confidential informant and had a relationship with the police that was detrimental to conducting a thorough investigation.

(Rebecca’s police interviews can be seen at

Donna believes her concerns are well-founded based on her personal conversations with Maria Harvick. She cites Maria’s statements to her that:

  • Daniel was questioning Rebecca about some missing money and he seemed to be trying to scare her into telling him about it.
  • Rebecca had told her and other people with them, that Daniel had made her the beneficiary on his life insurance policy a few weeks before he was shot. Yet in her police interview, she stated she didn’t know if Daniel had any life insurance;
  • Rebecca had said to friends a week or so before the shooting that she was tired of Daniel and wanted to break up with him. She was going to take him for everything he had, and then leave and get back with one of her old boyfriends;
  • Most everything Rebecca said on the police interview tapes as to what had happened that night were total lies;
  • After Daniel was shot Rebecca picked up the gun from the hallway where it landed after he was shot, and moved it into the bedroom;
  • Rebecca turned Daniel over on his back so it would look like he had fallen backward after shooting himself; and
  • Rebecca told her not to tell the police that she and Daniel had been arguing.

Donna further states that Rebecca was at a bar a night or two after Daniel’s death, trying to sell his wedding ring from a previous marriage and his favorite pool cues. And that Rebecca agreed to take a polygraph, and then backed out after consulting an attorney.

Below Donna expresses her feelings in her own words:

“It was murder on September 4, 2008, and it’s still a murder today”

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