A man in the Western Massachusetts town of Huntington pleaded not guilty Monday in Northampton District Court to charges of improper disposal of a body and misleading authorities in connection with the disappearance of his girlfriend, prosecutors said.
Jeb Daly Sr., 37, was arrested by State Police Sunday night after a body was discovered in a cardboard box behind the home he shared with Jessica Dana, 30, authorities said. Dana was reported missing late Saturday afternoon, according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office.
“Daly was the last person to have seen Dana after a gathering with friends at the Rocky Brook Road residence on Friday night,” District Attorney David E. Sullivan’s office said in a statement. “Daly told Dana’s family members she was missing on Saturday morning … and it was only at their urging that Daly reported Dana missing.”
Dana, a mother of three, was in a relationship with Daly for about five years, officials said. Daly is the father of at least one of Dana’s children, according to Sullivan’s office. The children are now with one of Dana’s relatives.
The body found behind Daly and Dana’s home has not yet been positively identified and no further charges are expected until it is, prosecutors said.
After State Police discovered the body, Daly fled the home, officials said. State Police apprehended him by using a ruse in which they approached him in a family member’s car, Sullivan’s office said.
According to the New Jersey Department of Corrections website, Daly was jailed between July 1998 and February 2001 for armed burglary, receiving stolen property, and criminal mischief.
Daly, who is being held on $100,000 cash bail, is expected back in court on July 27.
Huntington is a town of 2,180 people about 25 miles northwest of Springfield.