Arrest Made in 20-Year-Old Cold Case

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

A cold case is suddenly hot after investigators announced their first arrest.

NewsWest 9 has been following the Joe Daggett case since he went missing 20 years ago.

It's been an 18-month-long investigation, but shortly after 1p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, Pecos County Deputies, Texas Rangers, and New Mexico State Police caught their main suspect just outside of Carlsbad, New Mexico, something law enforcement says is a huge step in the case.

They arrested Lightsey Saul, a 57-year-old, originally from Ft. Stockton and charged him with conspiracy to commit capital murder.

"We're still in the process of hoping, maybe, to find the body one of these days," Lead Private Investigator, James Juliano, said. "This is just an avenue we went since we haven't been able to recover, find the body yet."

Over the past year and a half, authorities found new evidence and kicked their search efforts into high gear. Texas Equusearch rolled in along with officials and volunteers who traveled to Pecos County from all over the U.S.

But since NewsWest 9 covered their search in December, authorities continued hunting for clues. And on Tuesday, they found just enough evidence to make the arrest.

"You don't necessarily have to have a body to prosecute," Juliano said. "This individual is actually arrested for conspiracy to commit capital murder in Texas and not actually for the murder itself, so that evidence is pretty solid."

Back in Ft. Stockton, Sheriff Harris broke the news to the Daggett family.

"They're excited something's finally getting done on this case," Harris said. "They're very excited and hopeful we can take this case all the way and get some good results out of it."

Sheriff Harris says if he waives extradition, Saul could be back to Texas in the next couple of days to begin hearings.

The investigator couldn't tell us specifically what type of evidence they uncovered, but authorities say it's not over, more arrests are on the way. 

Saul is being held in the Eddy County Detention Center.