Skeletal remains identified, new details released in Pass Christian case

pochs@sunherald.comJune 24, 2014 

HARRISON COUNTY -- Authorities said a drug-related robbery led to the death of the man whose remains were found behind a Pass Christian residence Friday.

Coroner Gary Hargrove said Brian Edwin Bachtel, 38, of Saucier, died of a gunshot wound to the head. He was identified Tuesday through dental records from the state Department of Corrections.

How long he'd been dead remains part of the investigation, Hargrove said.

Deputies arrested Steven Matlock Hagin, 25, and Amber Leigh Slocum Hagin, 23, both of Saucier, Friday on charges of capital murder and accessory after the fact to capital murder.

Sheriff's Maj. Ron Pullen said Bachtel, reported missing June 15, was last seen June 5 leaving a friend's house in Saucier in a black 1998 Honda Accord.

Pullen said witnesses told authorities Bachtel had met with Steven Hagin the day he disappeared. He said witnesses also told where the Hagins were hiding.

Pullen said the Hagins were arrested Friday at an apartment complex in the 13000 block of Old Highway 49 in Gulfport.

After the arrest, Pullen said officials learned Bachtel's vehicle would be on a property near Hagin's mother's home in the 16000 block of Bell Creek Road in Pass Christian.

About 10 p.m. Friday, authorities found the vehicle near the wood line of the property and later found Bachtel's remains.

Pullen said investigators believe Bachtel was killed on the property of Hagin's mother and stepfather and the body and vehicle were dumped on a neighbor's adjacent property.

He said the couple had been kicked out of their residence the day after the killing and gone into hiding because they figured they would be found out.

Pullen said authorities recovered the shotgun believed to be the murder weapon during the search of the property. He said Amber Hagin was involved in the planning of the robbery but not the murder.

Pullen said the robbery is the underlying crime for the charge of capital murder, but investigators believe the killing was drug-related.

Steven Hagin was held without bond along with an MDOC hold and Amber Hagin was held on a $100,000 bond set by Justice Court Judge Melvin Ray.

The Gulfport Police Department's Crime Scene Unit, Harrison County Coroner's Office and the Harrison County District Attorney's Office all assisted in the investigation.

Robin Fitzgerald, Sun Herald reporter, contributed to this report.

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