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Authorities have arrested a suspect in the “very, very violent” slaying of a pregnant Missouri mom who disappeared on Thanksgiving Day.
Damion Delgado, 27, is now facing charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and second-degree murder after Amethyst Killian’s lifeless body was found by police “stashed deep into some brush,” the day after she vanished, according to St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar, who announced the charges Tuesday in a press conference aired by local station KTVI.
The 22-year-old—who had been five-months pregnant at the time—was stabbed more than 20 times mostly in the head, neck and abdomen.
“This is a tragic, tragic situation,” Lohmar said.
Authorities said they were able to link Delgado to the crime after discovering the last message Killian had sent through the text messaging app TextNow had been to him. Investigators determined the link by tracing the IP address used in the messages to Delgado’s residence.
“The victim and Delgado had connected with one another online and they had arranged a meeting that night in the early morning hours of November the 26th,” Lohmar said, adding that there had been no previous connection between the pair.
Authorities don’t believe it was a random attack.
“This was a targeted situation,” Lohmar said. “Unfortunately, the victim and the defendant in this case were engaged in a potentially dangerous situation and ultimately she lost her life.”
Killian, who had two other small children, was last seen by her family in the early morning hours of Nov. 26 when she said she was going to go out to purchase some cigarettes.
The next day, after she never returned, her stepfather and boyfriend went searching for her and discovered her purse and “items of clothing nearby.”
The purse was discovered just 75 yards from her house, according to The St. Louis Post Dispatch.
The family members called the St. Peters Police Department, who arrived at the scene a short time later.
Police found Killian’s lifeless body deep at the back of a property, Lohmar said.
Investigators also discovered blood on a knife, sidewalk and nearby fence from an “unknown male” that was later matched to Delgado, authorities alleged.
In addition to the blood, Lohmar said authorities found another “piece of evidence” left at the scene that Delgado had allegedly referenced in the text message exchange with Killian.
Detectives went to multiple gas stations within 10 minutes of the crime and found a record of a purchase of that exact item.
“It was brilliant detective work,” Lohmar said, calling it “probably the biggest breakthrough” in the investigation.
Detectives also found an Uber driver who had allegedly driven Delgado to the scene and surveillance footage putting him at a convenience store nearby about 10 to 15 minutes before he met up with Killian.
“Without the advancements in technology that are available to us now, this is a crime that would be much more difficult, if not close to impossible, to solve based on what we know now,” Lohmar said.
Lohmar declined to discuss the details of why the two met that night; however, Killian’s boyfriend reportedly told police that she sometimes engaged in sex work by advertising online, according to the local newspaper.
Delgado, a resident of O’Fallon, has had very little past criminal history, according to authorities.
“These actions on his part were unexpected to say the least,” Lohmar said, adding that investigators are still trying to determine a motive in the case.
According to police, Delgado had tried to commit suicide on Monday and was taken to a local hospital, The St. Louis Post reports.
Lohmar said during the press conference that Delgado is currently in the custody of the St. Peters Police, where he is being held on $1 million bond.
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