Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dismembered remains found and identified as mother of 2

A specialized dive team has finished searching for the remains of a Kinston mother that police say was murdered by her ex-boyfriend and his wife. Dismembered remains found scattered in a Texas creek were positively identified Tuesday as those of a missing North Carolina mother of two.  Investigators say they believe 27-year-old Laura Jean Ackerson was killed and dismembered in North Carolina before being transported in ice chests to Texas, where her remains were found in a creek about 60 miles south of Houston. Investigators say the body is so decomposed that it may not be possible to determine how Ackerson died.  Grant Ruffin Hayes, 32, and his wife, Amanda Perry Hayes, 39, are accused of killing Ackerson, who was last seen in Raleigh on July 13 and reported missing two days later. The couple was arrested early Monday in Kinston, N.C., and charged with murder.  Nevada state records show that Grant and Amanda Hayes were married in Las Vegas on April 19th, 2010. A judge ordered them held without bond during their first court appearance on Tuesday. 

Ackerson, who had two children with Hayes, was involved in a custody battle with him before she disappeared.  She was reported missing after she failed to meet Hayes in Raleigh to pick up her two sons. Her white 2006 Ford Focus was later found abandoned in a nearby apartment complex. Hayes had primary custody of the two boys from his relationship with Ackerson. A judge granted Hayes emergency temporary custody in June 2010. Hayes claimed Ackerson was unfit for sole custody. The custody dispute was still going on at the time of Ackerson's disappearance. The next scheduled court hearing was supposed to be in August.
Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Craig Brady said Monday that search crews have recovered 60 percent of remains belonging to Ackerson, a businesswoman.
Her dismembered remains were found on Sunday near Oyster Creek, Texas -- about 100 yards from where Amanda Hayes' sister lives.
"The objects, we believe, were floating, and that came up into the lily pads, (which) made it difficult," said Mark Thorsen, a member of the Houston Police Department's dive team. "It was a football field of lily pads and weeds and stuff like that that we had to go through to try to search."
While investigators have yet to determine a motive, Brady suggested Monday that the custody issue might have been a factor in Ackerson's death.
"I don’t know if it was a planned homicide or if tempers flared, but I can’t imagine someone being that cold or just uncaring that, after the murder, they took the steps of dismembering this lady in the manner that they did and just tossing her in a creek," Brady said. "It’s one of the most gruesome scenes that I’ve seen in 30-something years of law enforcement."

Here is a time line of how the disappearance of Ackerson has unfolded so far:
July 13: last reported sighting of Ackerson, dropping off her two boys at the Raleigh home of Grant Hayes, the father of the children.
July 15: Ackerson fails to meet Hayes to get the boys back at their appointed meeting place in Wilson, according to Patsy Hayes, the suspect's mother. She reports he was "surprised" Ackerson did not show up.
July 18: Ackerson's co-worker reports her missing to Kinston police. Police alert the media.
July 20: Raleigh police locate Ackerson's car in an apartment complex parking lot, find no evidence of foul play in the vehicle. Raleigh police take over the investigation.
July 24: Officials in Texas find human remains in a creek in Fort Bend County. Raleigh police announce detectives have traveled to Texas. Reports say officials believe dismembered remains belong to Ackerson.
July 25: Raleigh police announce the arrests of Grant Hayes and Amanda Hayes at a location in Kinston.

No comments:

Post a Comment