Gentry speaks about Fairview murder

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Sheriff Matt Gentry speaks to reporters Tuesday afternoon. / W.C. Mann

FAIRVIEW – On Tuesday afternoon, Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry spoke with the media about the murder of Daniel Ray Osborn II, of Hartselle, and the joint Hartselle Police/Cullman County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) investigation that led to the arrests Monday of Tyler Stephen Hudson and Andrew “Drue” Jacob Maresh for the crime.

Osborn was last seen by his family on Feb. 3, 2018. On Monday afternoon, his body was found buried in the yard of a home in Fairview.  Hudson, 20, of Baileyton, and Maresh, 19, of Hartselle, were arrested and charged with murder Monday night. Both are being held without bond at the Cullman County Detention Center.

Gentry did not discuss sources at Tuesday’s press conference, simply saying that information obtained by investigators led them to a property near the intersection of Alabama Highway 69 and County Road 1534 in Fairview.  

It was there, he said, that “after several hours, we were able to discover a body, and at that time, we started putting together the facts and trying to identify possible suspects.  From there, we went and located two suspects: a Tyler Stephen Hudson and Andrew Jacob Maresh. Throughout the investigation, we were able to obtain probable cause through the investigation, working with the (Cullman County) District Attorney’s office, that led to their arrest for murder late last night.”

While speculation is rampant on social media, the CCSO is not releasing details about the cause of death or the specific details of what led them to the particular location where the body was found. Gentry indicated that the investigation is ongoing, and that both suspects are currently in the Cullman County Detention Center pending a bond hearing before a judge.

Asked by a reporter what led to the break in the case, the sheriff stated, “It’s just hard work and effort by the investigators from the Hartselle Police Department and the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office. You know, in any kind of incident, you have to be relentless, be out in the community talking with people, gathering evidence, following leads. And that’s what those investigators have been doing for the last two months.”

One reporter said, “I think the question that everyone in Hartselle is asking is ‘Why?’”  

Gentry responded, “You know, in any situation I think it’s with life in general–and again, I can’t get into the specifics of this case–but it’s all about decisions.  One of the things: these individuals are very young–19 and 20 years old–and it comes down to making the right decision.”

He continued, “I think in society today, our youth are numb to decision-making; they’re numb to what life is really–the reality of life.  And the biggest thing that I can tell you: we need good leaders, we need good leadership and we need good decision-making. And if you do that, life is a lot better.”

The Tribune broke the story Monday night. Authorities from the CCSO, Hartselle Police Department and Cullman County Coroner's Office were at the scene on County Road 1534 in Fairview on Monday. Although Gentry and Cullman County Coroner Jeremy L. Kilpatrick would not comment on the case Monday, each saying only, "The investigation is ongoing," multiple sources confirmed to The Tribune that night that an excavation took place and that a body, believed to be that of Osborn, was recovered.

On Tuesday morning, the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement, “(On) Monday, March 26, 2018, Cullman County Sheriff’s (Office) 'CCSO' investigators and Hartselle Police Department investigators responded to an address in the Fairview community, Cullman County. This response was from several weeks of a relentless investigation of a missing person’s case that was initiated in the Hartselle community. Sadly, in the course of the investigation, the victim’s body was discovered buried at the residence.”

The statement said that after the discovery of the victim’s body, investigators, working in conjunction with the Cullman County District Attorney’s Office, continued the investigation throughout the night.

“I would like to commend the hard work and dedication from the Hartselle Investigators and the Investigators from the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office in working this case together. Our prayers go out to the victim’s family during this time of tragedy and loss,” said Gentry.

The Hartselle Police Department published the following on its Facebook page late Monday night, confirming that it was Osborn's body found in Fairview:

Today Investigators located the body of Daniel Ray Osborn II near Fairview in Cullman, Alabama. Cullman County Sheriff's Office proceeded with the investigation and charged Tyler Hudson and Andrew Maresh with Murder. This has been a very difficult time for Daniel's family. They would appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

-Sgt. McDearmond

According to a Facebook page set up to aid in the search for Osborn, “He was last seen by Family on Feb 3rd. He had last text communication on Feb 16th around 1:20pm. We are not positive that this was him. Missing person report was filed with Hartselle Police Department on Feb 18th. His phone battery also died on Feb 18th. On Feb 20th, Daniel's Car was found in Baileyton, AL. It was found at a junkyard with 1 tire appearing to have been blown out. The tag was missing. On Feb 21st, Daniel's prepaid plan has ran out of mins. So his phone is disconnected.”

Maresh and Hudson were members of the Facebook page. On Tuesday, one of the page's members posted: "Wolf in Sheep Clothing. Right under our noses this entire time. Not only were they friends of Daniel Ray Osborn II, but they were also sharing our post(s) and joining our group to 'help find him.'"

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