‘I want to get to the truth’


By John Dobberstein, Editor

By most accounts, Linda Jeffcoat Davenport was the kind of person you would want to run into in Broken Arrow. She loved her husband, doted over her daughter, worked for the same company for more than 30 years and was very no-nonsense and straight laced.

Her daughter, Leigh Watts, described her as a “really, really lovely lady” who had a meticulousness about her. There were many years of good advice, which Watts said she didn’t fully appreciate until she became an adult.

“We cooked. She taught me how to cook when I was a little, little kid,” recalls Watts, who lives in Ketchikan, Alaska. “There was lots and lots of cooking and gardening, and she was a big crafter. She taught me how to tie a few knots when macrame was a big deal back in the seventies. She taught me tole painting and ceramics. And the paper crafting: she did these beautiful handmade cards that she would send me every year.”

Davenport was also, according to her daughter, “ethical just to the letter,” conservative and would not defy authority. “There’s nothing that she would have done that would have been shady ever.”

However, Davenport’s life came to a tragic end last year when police responding to a welfare check request discovered her body in her bedroom, riddled with gunshot wounds, around 7 p.m. Nov. 14. 

Broken Arrow police detectives have been accumulating evidence and records in the case but will not say whether they have any leads or suspects.

“The Davenport homicide is still an active, ongoing investigation. The assigned detective is working diligently trying to solve the case and provide closure for the family,” said Christopher Walker, Broken Arrow Police Department’s public information officer. “Because it is an open investigation, further details will not be released.”

Unhappy retirement

Davenport was 72 when she died. She spent decades working as an accountant for Kahan & Associates in Tulsa, handling their books and taxes, and she retired in 2019.

Just as the time came to celebrate her golden years, things took a turn for the worse. Linda’s husband, Dan, died in September 2020 after falling in his radio room. He had a heart condition, Watts said, but during the COVID-19 pandemic he wouldn’t leave the house, much less go see his doctor.

When Watts was young, her father had a heart-attack scare and that convinced Linda to go back to school at Phillips University in Enid, where she earned a B.S. in accounting. Eventually she earned her certified public accountant license.

Davenport worked until she turned 70 so she could make up the reduction in Social Security earnings due to her husband’s early retirement. Watts said her father was still making some money off investments and “was a lifelong ham radio guy.”

After the accident, Watts’ father spent 6 weeks in the hospital before the family decided against providing further life-saving measures. So Davenport spent much of her retirement grieving and isolating herself from the public and fears of getting the coronavirus.

“Her retirement was, honestly, pretty tragic,” Watts said. “And when she died, the people at the company were pretty devastated about it. She was their family too.”

‘Didn’t leave the house much’

The day before Davenport’s body was discovered, Watts said she called her at 6:30 p.m. and there was no answer, but that wasn’t unusual due to the 3-hour time-zone difference. So she called Davenport again the next day in the afternoon and still go no answer.

Watts describes the neighborhood her parents lived in as a good one, where neighbors watch out for each other. Which, to Watts, makes the murder even more shocking.

“She didn't leave the house much. I didn't expect her to be gone anywhere and she didn't answer. I called her cell phone. I called her home phone. Then I called a neighbor and asked, ‘Hey, go knock on Mom’s door. She’s not answering her phone.’”

Watts was told by a neighbor there was no answer at the front door, or after they knocked on her bedroom window. “And I said, ‘Well, I guess it's time to call the cops and get a wellness check. So that's how I found out (she died).”

Broken Arrow police arrived and later began putting up police tape around the area. At that time, the only thing Davenport’s neighbors knew was that Davenport was dead but didn’t know how or why. The next day, a Broken Arrow police detective called Watts to explain her mother had been murdered.

Home was unsecured

Police found the “residence was unsecured” when they arrived and that Davenport was deceased “with traumatic injuries consistent with a homicide.” At the time, the department said detectives “have been working tirelessly to develop information on the case and crime scene investigators are following up on processing evidence.”

A report from the Tulsa County Medical Examiner’s Office said Davenport died of multiple gunshot wounds. The report documented 8 entrance wounds to her arms and chest, as well as abrasions on Davenport’s back, abdomen and right leg.

Had Davenport mustered any opportunity to confront her attacker, it’s not likely she could have put up much of a fight. She weighed 282 pounds and Watts said she needed a walker for mobility.

Earlier this year, Watts received a container with both her mother and father’s ashes mixed together, according to her wishes, and an amended death certificate stating the manner of death. Watts said the first certificate stated the cause was unknown.

Watts said her mother lived in a good neighborhood and that she can’t imagine that factored into her death. “The neighbors were looking out after her, checking her mail for her and taking her trash out. They were really good to her,” she said.

Remembering a life

There was no funeral for Davenport. After losing her first child in 1988, Watts said she told herself that was the last funeral she would ever attend in her life.

But Watts did host a “remembrance” for her mother. She rented a suite at a hotel, put out her mother’s picture and some of her crafts, and friends and family had a night of appetizers and conversation, “just to celebrate her life,” Watts said.

Watts admits she is frustrated that her mother’s case hasn’t been solved yet, but understands police are trying to crack a potentially complicated case. “I want to get to the truth. I want to know what happened to my mom,” she said.

Anyone with possible information about this crime is asked to call the Broken Arrow Police Department at (918) 259-8400. Or call Tulsa Crime Stoppers at (918) 596-COPS.

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