By Linda Cicoira

Records filed in Accomack circuit and district courts disclosed new information Monday regarding the case of a Painter area man, who was indicted earlier this month for a 2016 murder.

The second-degree murder indictment was brought by an Eastern Shore Multi-Jurisdiction Grand Jury, on Oct. 8, against 58-year-old Joseph Tykot. The self-employed contractor is being held in Accomack Jail without bond.

A document showed Tykot was charged in 1988 with failure to appear. The papers did not say where that charge was made or why he was ordered to appear. Tykot began living on the Eastern Shore in 2001. The record also stated that Tykot was “polite and cooperative” when brought before a magistrate Friday. He has a valid operator’s license, (and) has been living at (his) current address (near Painter) for five years.

The victim, 41-year-old Eric Clifford Rhatigan, of Eastville, was found dead in a “dirt field about “145 feet from the street” alongside Davis Wharf Road, on June 15, 2016. Rhatigan died from multiple blunt force traumas to the head, neck, and torso, according to the record.

A shoe impression at the site, “indicated that at least one other individual was in the field with Rhatigan.” The victim’s cell phone was discovered nearby. “Text messages and phone call logs obtained from the cell showed the last usage was sometime between 10:30 p.m., June 14, and 1:30 a.m., June 15, 2016. A search warrant “was looking for cell phone information relevant to the ongoing investigation … of murder.”

Traffic was stopped, along a neck road between Pungoteague and Craddockville, as dozens of sheriff’s deputies, with guns drawn, apprehended the suspect last Friday morning, according to witnesses.

Sheriff Todd Wessells said the investigation is ongoing. He asked that anyone with information, about the case, contact his office at (757) 787-1131 or (757) 824-5666. Tips may also be submitted through Wessells’ website at accomackcountysheriffsoffice.org.

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