By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A routine traffic stop on an Atmore street led to the Sunday afternoon arrest of a local woman who had been sought for several months on charges that she is responsible for the death of her sister, whose badly decomposed remains were discovered March 26 inside a Jones Street trailer.
According to a press release issued Monday, August 10, by Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks, an APD patrol officer had a day earlier pulled over an unidentified vehicle on South Main Street for an unspecified traffic violation. The officer identified a passenger in the vehicle as 34-year-old Josephine Gaines, who was the subject of an outstanding murder warrant.
Gaines, who has been on the lam since before her sister’s body was discovered, reportedly made a break for it as she was being led into the municipal lockup, but her attempt to regain her freedom was fruitless.
“She was arrested on the warrant and transported to the Atmore City Jail,” said Brooks. “While the officer was escorting Gaines inside the building, Gaines fled from the officer on foot. After a short foot chase, the officer was able to regain control of Gaines and placed her in jail.”
The arrest stems from an APD death investigation launched when the body, later identified by family members as that of VanDora Latasha Dailey, was discovered inside the Jones Street mobile home after emergency dispatchers relayed a report of a burglary in progress at the location. [Brooks lists the deceased as Vandoren Dailey, however, the family said her name was VanDora.]
APD detectives determined early in their investigation that electricity, water and other utilities to the trailer had been shut off several months prior to discovery of the body.
After more than three months, Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences personnel were able to officially identify by dental records the remains as those of Dailey.
Brooks said forensic investigators at the crime lab were unable to determine whether the woman died from starvation, a seizure or some other factor, but said neglect likely was a major factor.
The victim reportedly had a mental disorder and suffered from at least two debilitating medical conditions. She had reportedly been living with relatives in Monroeville until Gaines brought her to Atmore a little more than a year ago.
APD investigators learned from family members during the death investigation that the victim had special needs and was unable to care for herself. Still, they said, she was often left alone in the home, once for several months, by her older sibling.
Documents examined by city detectives during their probe showed that Gaines was legally responsible for the care and well-being of her sister.
Gaines remained late Monday in the county jail, without bond, on one count each of murder and third-degree escape.