Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
Darrin was last seen at his residence in the vicinity of Warner and Lindsay in Gilbert, AZ. His vehicle, clothing and personal belongings were left behind.
Hale apparently sent a text message to his employer on December 17. He said he was on his way to an urgent care center and would return to work in four days. Darrin Hale's legal adviser reported him missing December 29, 2005, after he missed an appointment two weeks before. Regular contact with family members had also suddenly stopped.
Three weeks before being reported missing, Darrin Hale obtained an order of protection from Gilbert Municipal Court against his wife. In it, he alleged his wife followed him, cut him off while he was driving and threatened to kill him.
In 2010 his wife, Sharon Denise Hale, pleaded guilty to helping her father kill and dismember her husband. She was arrested in April 2006 for the murder of her husband.
Her father, Clarence Morton, 59, of Avondale, Arizona, pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his son-in-law, Darrin Hale, during a fight inside the couple's home.
Morton told police he killed Darrin Hale because his daughter wanted him to. Family members told investigators Darrin Hale had been upset when he found out his wife had refinanced their home without his consent, forging his name, and had hidden money from him. A co-worker told investigators Darrin Hale entrusted him with a copy of mortgage documents that Darrin said he didn't sign. Darrin Hale also left behind a letter he wrote the mortgage company and a birthday card with his signature to compare with the forgery.
Sharon Hale told police her husband was a very considerate and giving person when he was not drinking during their rocky relationship. She said Darrin Hale ultimately agreed to refinance the home, but he later threatened to say she forged the documents.
During a fight in the laundry room, Moton told police he pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed Darrin once in the chest and once in the neck. Darrin then collapsed on the floor and died.
Morton first told police that after he killed Darrin Hale, he and his daughter drove to California, where he decapitated Darrin Hale, cut off his hands and scattered the body parts in an open desert. He later changed his story and said he burned the body and spread the ashes along a north-south Arizona highway. He later recanted.
Police have never recovered Darrin Hale's body, but arrested Moton and Sharon Hale in April 2006 after a Tucson man told police that he saw meat and bone on a saw Sharon asked him to destroy, along with an ax, a wedding ring, clothing and carpet.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Gilbert Police Department
The Arizona Republic 1/7/06