Colorado Woman Poisoned Her Father, Covered Body in Concrete, Told Police the Rotting Smell Was an Overflowing Toilet

A Colorado woman who poisoned her father before hiding his body in a crawl space in the home they shared has been sentenced to life in prison.

Dayna Jennings, 45, was convicted of the first-degree murder of her father William Mussack, 69, as well as tampering with a human body, after his decomposing corpse was discovered by police at the house in Federal Heights on January 10, 2018.

Police said they had made several attempts to conduct a welfare check on Mussack after relatives became concerned that they could not get in contact with him in December 2017. Mussack also told his son that he lost consciousness for around 15 hours after Jennings had given him some food on December 7, 2017, texting his son "she must have drugged me," according to the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

The son said the text message was the last time he heard from his father. Around the same time, prosecutors said that Jennings had researched the effects of overdosing on the animal tranquilizer acepromazine, which she used to poison Mussack.

"This is a substance that should never be in a human body," Chief Deputy District Attorney Brett Martin told the court during the trial in Adams County, reports The Denver Post. "It is a central nervous system depressant. It slows respiration until a person stops breathing and the heart stops beating, and that's what happened to William Mussack."

The Federal Heights Police Department started investigating the disappearance in December 2017. After going around to the home to speak to Jennings, officers reported that the house smelled "like sewage and something rotting," according to the Associated Press.

Jennings told police that the smell was an overflown toilet and that her father had gone to the mountains with his girlfriend.

"Jennings repeatedly misled the family after they became concerned about Mussack, describing everyday routines as if things were fine," Chief Deputy District Attorney Rhoda Pilmer said in a statement. "All the while, she was scheming about how to get rid of her father's body, she researched the drug, ordered it, received it. All of those were opportunities to stop and ask herself, 'Am I really going to poison my father?'"

After killing Mussack, Jennings dumped the body in a crawl space and covered it with garbage and old photos before pouring over concrete.

"This is evidence of the contempt she felt for him," Pilmer told the court. "She tried to conceal his body hoping that no one would ever find it."

Martin told the jury that 11 days after she buried her father in the crawl space, Jennings texted a friend: "Life is so different now I feel so much better."

Jennings was sentenced to life without parole for first-degree murder of Mussack and six years for tampering with a deceased body.

Dayna Jennings
Dayna Jennings was sentenced to life without parole for murdering her father with animal tranquilizer. Adams County sheriff's office