In January of 2018, 45 year old Denver, Colorado resident, Dayna Michele Jennings, was visited by local police who had been urged to perform a welfare check on her 69 year old father, John Mussack. Mussack was registered as living at the address and had not been seen for a month, nor had he been officially reported as missing by his daughter.
Mussack had not been in contact with friends or family for almost all of December 2017 and his brother had grown concerned at the uncharacteristic lack of communication between them. Dissatisfied with his niece’s explanation of the pensioner’s whereabouts, he placed a call to the local authorities in Denver, requesting that they check up on his absent sibling, whom he told them lived with his daughter in a house on Eliot Circle in Federal Heights.
When officers showed up to the address, Dayna Jennings told them that Mussack’s cellphone was broken and that he had “gone off into the mountains with his girlfriend” with a months-worth of rent in his pocket. The only issue with the story was that William Mussack’s girlfriend was still in town and she too had been unable to contact him. The last conversation they had was on December 8th 2017, where they had discussed a Christmas party they would be attending the following evening- Mussack would never make it to the party and his loved ones would never hear from him again.
Strangely, Jennings told investigators that her father didn’t even live at the property and a brief search of the house revealed that his room had clearly been unoccupied for several weeks. A heap of women’s clothing was piled up on the bed and the room appeared to be used as a casual storage room for Jennings’ belongings.
Strangely, William Mussack’s cars were still on the drive. If he really did take a trip up into the mountains, why would he decide against using one of his own vehicles?
Unconvinced by Jennings explanation of the missing man’s whereabouts, Mussack’s brother urged police to check the residence and question her again. They showed up again the following day on January 10th and noticed that there was now construction materials at the front of the house. It was later discovered that she had been using Mussack’s credit card to rent dumpsters not long after his sudden dissapearence and they were filled with the carpets and floorboard she had ripped up from the basement. Once inside an investigating officer couldn’t help but notice a foul stench in the air, an unpleasant odor that Jennings was quick to blame on a backed up toilet that had yet to be fixed.
The stench of decay was thick in the air and lead right to the crawlspace of the house that was filled with trash and had concrete poured into it. Police would later discover the decaying body of 69 year old William Mussack encased in the cement along with household trash, photographs and other refuse and debris.
When confronted Dayna Jennings finally buckled and confessed that she had poured cement into the crawlspace in order to conceal her father’s body.
Jennings recently went to trial where the court heard that in early December she had served him a burger laced with Acepromazine, an animal sedative and tranquilizer usually sold under the commercial name “Atravet”. Although Acepromazine was at one point used on humans over half a century ago in an attempt to treat psychotic symptoms such as those associated with schizophrenia, it is now exclusively used in veterinary medicine, usually to sedate or tranquilize animals as large as horses, or in smaller doses to sedate common house pets like cats and dogs. If accidentally ingested by a human, however, Acepromazine can cause seizures, slow heart rate, respiratory depression, heart attacks, coma and death.
Jennings prepared the meal for her father and laced the meat with Acepromazine, knowing full well that he could very possibly die- she had researched the drug after all.
Mussack took a single bite of the burger and woke up in his recliner 15 hours later in a state of confusion. He then composed a text message to his son on December 7th stating “She must have drugged me”.
Mussack was right.
A month earlier his daughter had researched Acepromazine online and the effects it would have if ingested by a human being. She knew that if introduced into the human body in large quantities it will depress the respiratory system causing it to shut down and result in death. Jennings knew this and ordered the drugs with the intention of using them to end her father’s life.
She had many opportunities to back out of the murder, but chose to go ahead.
Jennings also planned the concealment of her father’s body, and used his credit card to purchase the cement she would eventually entomb him in from Home Depot.
Eleven days after murdering Mussack she sent a text message to a friend: “Life is so different now, I feel so much better” she wrote.
Jennings’ motive for murdering her own father is unknown, however her ex-husband told police that she began develop tumultuous relationships with her friends and family following their split and the failure of her massage business.
Dayna Jennings was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole for the premeditated killing of her own father in late 2017. She received another six years for tampering with a body.
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