A woman’s search for her sister ended in tragedy after the body of 41-year-old Tami Diane Higginbotham was discovered in Newton County on Friday, Feb. 15.
The search for Higginbotham was initiated after Orange resident Staci Robinson went to the Orange Police Department (OPD) at about 11:56 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, to report her sister Tami Diane Higginbotham had been missing since Feb. 7. OPD Officer Michael T. Roush filed a missing persons report on Higginbotham in response to her sister’s request.
After a few days passed and there was no sign of Higginbotham, the OPD issued an alert to the media. On Wednesday, Feb. 13, Orange Police Captain Cliff Hargrave reported Higginbotham was still missing. The news release described Higginbotham as a 41-year-old white female from Vinton, La., approximately 5-foot-2 and 120 pounds. Although the original police report indicated she had been missing since Feb. 7, the news release from Captain Hargrave indicated she was last seen Feb. 8 at approximately 12:30 p.m. and was en route to Orange. Her vehicle was found at Bluebird Fishing Camp on Simmons Drive in Orange.
Later the same day, Hargrave issued another release that revealed police were looking for someone who might be able to shed some light on Higginbotham’s disappearance. Officers were searching for 26-year-old Joshua Latham who was wanted for a felony probation violation out of Orange County, according to the report. At the time, police were looking for Latham in a gold colored, 1995 Chevrolet extended cab truck, Louisiana license No. X557246. He was reported to be accompanied by his girlfriend and infant child. The information from police indicated Latham lived in Orange but was originally from the Mauriceville area. He was described by the release as “a person of interest in the disappearance of Tami Higginbotham.”
Police caught up with Latham in Maryville, Tenn. where the man reportedly had relatives. OPD officers contacted law enforcement officials in Maryville and Latham was arrested at approximately 8 p.m. on Feb. 14. Orange Police and the Texas Rangers went to Tennessee that very day to interview Latham in regards to Higginbotham’s disappearance.
The next day, the worst possible outcome for the friends and family of Higginbotham was realized. On Friday, Feb. 15, at approximately 5:30 p.m., detectives discovered the body of a white female in Newton County. According to the news release from Orange Police, the body was believed to be Tami Higginbotham. The report indicated the body was found north of Mauriceville in a heavily wooded, hunting lease area and was brought to the Jefferson County Morgue for an autopsy. The Newton County Sheriff’s Office joined the investigation, which is still ongoing, according to police, and confirmed the body found was that of Higginbotham. No charges have been brought against Latham and there is no word yet as to the nature of his connection with or knowledge of Higginbotham’s disappearance.For The Examiner's previous reporting on this developing story, click the link below: