In William Mussack’s final text conversation with his son on Dec. 7, the Colorado man relayed a chilling fear: he believed his daughter may have poisoned his food.
“William described the feeling of being drugged and falling asleep in a recliner chair for 15 hours,” an arrest affidavit obtained by KDVR in Denver read. “He recalled taking a bite from a hamburger, and the hamburger was still on the end table with one bite taken out of it when he awoke.”
Mussack, 69, told his son, Brian Mussack, that his daughter, Dayna Michele Jennings, gave him the hamburger. The day after that discussion, William Mussack vanished.
Five weeks later, Mussack’s body was found encased in concrete in the crawl space of his Federal Heights home. Jennings, 44, is charged with first-degree murder with extreme indifference and is being held without bond in the Adams County Jail.
The investigation into Mussack’s disappearance began on Dec. 28, when his brother, Robert Mussack, called the Federal Heights Police Department to request that officers do a welfare check on his brother, whom he had not heard from in several weeks, the affidavit read. It ended in investigators’ grisly discovery on Jan. 10.
Jennings, who was being questioned at the Police Department while a search warrant was executed at her father’s house, admitted to detectives that she poured concrete in the crawl space of the home. Her admissions and cooperation would soon end, however.
“When Dayna was confronted with the information that investigators on scene were breaking up the concrete in the crawl space, she stated that she wished to speak with a lawyer,” the affidavit read. “At this time, the interview was ended.”
Robert Mussack and other family members and friends told detectives that it was not like William Mussack to go days or weeks without speaking to his loved ones. The last time any of them heard from him was Dec. 8, the day after he told his son about the suspicious hamburger.
When an officer went to Mussack’s home to check on him on Dec. 28, Jennings told them her father no longer lived there and that she, too, had not seen him in several weeks.
Nothing at the home seemed amiss, so the officer left.
The following day, an officer once again went to the home after speaking to both Robert and Brian Mussack. Brian Mussack told investigators that, prior to that final Dec. 7 text conversation, he ordinarily heard from his father daily.
The concerned son told police officers he believed his sister knew where their father was, but was not telling anyone, according to the affidavit. Family members and William Mussack’s girlfriend all told investigators that the lack of communication was out of character for him, and that he always kept his cellphone with him.
Jennings claimed her father had forgotten his cellphone at the house before leaving on a mountain trip with his girlfriend. The girlfriend told police officers, however, that she last heard from Mussack on Dec. 8, when he agreed to go to a Christmas party with her the following day.
Despite telling her to RSVP for him, he failed to show up at the party and she was never able to reach him again, the court document read.
When the officer went inside Mussack’s house on the second visit, on Dec. 29, he noticed a bad smell he described as the smell of “sewage and something rotting,” the affidavit said. When Jennings allowed him to look around, the officer noticed that Mussack’s bed, located in the basement, was covered in women’s clothing and looked as though it hadn’t been used in weeks.
The officer paid a third visit to the home on Dec. 30, at which time Jennings refused to allow him inside.
Family members received text messages from Mussack’s phone after police began searching for him, but investigators trying to locate the phone through the missing man’s cell service said the phone “pinged” from the area of his home -- even after his daughter claimed he’d stopped by, picked up the phone and some money and left again.
Brian Mussack also told police officers that his sister sent him text messages claiming that that their father had been abusive toward her and that he couldn’t afford to make his house payment. Family and friends said Mussack was a mild-mannered man who was very frugal and had plenty of money set aside for his retirement.
Despite Jennings’ claims that her father no longer lived there, the house remained in William Mussack’s name, the affidavit said. Three vehicles registered to Mussack were in the driveway.
When a concerned friend texted Jennings on Jan. 5 asking about her father, Jennings responded that her father was in Arizona, “enjoying the sun,” the document said. Mussack’s family said he did not know anyone in Arizona.
Further investigation showed that someone had been using Mussack’s bank account after he disappeared. Several items were purchased for Jennings from Amazon and a $500 check written to her was cashed on Dec. 29.
A Wells Fargo branch manager told police that the signature on the check did not match Mussack’s signature, which the bank had on file.
Jennings’ first husband, Joel Jennings, told police that his ex-wife “adored” her father, but that he believed she might have killed Mussack because it was not like his former father-in-law to disappear and not contact his family, the affidavit read. He described Dayna Jennings as “impulsive and irrational at times” and said her relationships with family members and friends were “intense and unstable.”
Joel Jennings also said that, during a visit to the house on Dec. 31, he saw flooring and carpet that his ex-wife had apparently pulled up and disposed of. Investigators learned that she ordered multiple dumpsters that were delivered to the home and parked out front for several days in December.
Jennings told investigators that his ex-wife’s massage business, her sole source of income, folded in November. On her business website, The Good Massage, Dayna Jennings wrote on Dec. 1 that she was taking personal leave for a few months “to tend to family and personal needs.”
Joel Jennings told detectives that Dayna Jennings’ second husband, Chris Newton, also moved out of the Mussack home, where they were living together, in November. Newton reportedly remarried Dec. 9, the day after Mussack was last heard from, the affidavit said.