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An Alaska man was allegedly captured on surveillance footage hauling his ex-girlfriend’s body into his car days before she was found at the base of a cliff, according to police.
Eddie Thomas Jr., 36, was caught on camera stashing the “lifeless human body” of Jerilyn Nicholson in his Subaru last week, according to charging documents obtained by Oxygen.com.
Nicholson's body was found at the bottom of an embankment outside Anchorage on May 1. Detectives used the woman’s fingerprints to positively identify her. No “obvious sign” of death was visible, according to authorities.
Nicholson was reported missing by her family on April 30. The 27-year-old was last seen alive on April 24. Relatives told detectives she’d been picked up from a hospital and was dropped off at her ex-boyfriend’s home in Eagle River.
Thomas admitted Nicholson had stopped at his apartment that day to have a bath and a cocktail. He claimed his former partner became “upset” and left within an hour after they got into a fight over her drinking, charging documents stated. The 36-year-old, who alleged he “refused” to provide Nicholson alcohol, told investigators his ex was scheduled to enter a treatment facility for her supposed alcohol use.
At 8 p.m., however, Nicholson uploaded a selfie to Instagram of her in a bathtub, which appeared to be inside Thomas’ apartment, according to police. Thomas later denied Nicholson took a bath at his apartment. He alleged the last time the former couple had sex was on April 20.
CCTV recordings also captured Nicholson purchasing alcohol at a liquor store less than a quarter mile from Thomas’ home at 9:41 p.m. Cell phone records indicated Nicholson’s mobile phone remained at Thomas’ home for several days after her suspected slaying, as well, authorities said.
Police ultimately accessed surveillance footage from Thomas’ apartment building, which they say further implicated him in Nicholson’s murder. The recordings allegedly showed Thomas carrying what appeared to be a “lifeless” human corpse to his Subaru Impreza on April 27.
“Eddie Thomas Jr. placed the body into the Subaru’s front passenger seat and closes the door,” charging documents stated. "He] gets into the driver’s seat and drives off. The body appears to be Jerilyn Nicholson due to hair color, hair length, physical size, and clothing which matches what she was wearing when found deceased.”
An autopsy was performed, but Nicholson’s cause of death hasn’t yet been released by the state medical examiner.
Thomas was charged with tampering with a body, the concealment of a corpse, and a trio of conditional release violations. Additional charges are possible.
Nicholson, whose nickname was “Ani,” was described by loved ones as a “bright light” and “beautiful soul,” who was “loved by many,” according to a GoFundMe set up to help her family cover funeral expenses.”
“[She] now watches over us an angel,” Kelsey Wallace, who organized the fundraiser, wrote. “We already miss her so much but have comfort in knowing that she is eternally home with the Lord.”
The online fundraiser has raised over $8,000.
The couple appears to have had a history of domestic violence.
In October 2020, police responded to an “intoxicated” 911 call from the couple, who were drinking. Thomas was arrested for disobeying a lawful order, interfering with a domestic violence report, and resisting arrest. He was arraigned and prohibited from having contact with Nicholson. The no contact order was active at the time of Nicholson’s death.
Thomas was also arrested on Jan. 23 for driving under the influence, resisting arrest, and violating release conditions, according to the charging documents.
Thomas was jailed on a $25,000 bond, according to the Anchorage District Attorney's Office. He was arraigned on May 5. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 24. Thomas has been appointed a public defender.
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