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A Pennsylvania man has been arrested after his girlfriend went missing and was later found deceased in an abandoned refrigerator mere feet away from the door of his apartment.
Authorities recovered the body of 38-year-old Kristy Jefferson on Monday morning around 10 a.m., less than a week after she was reported missing on April 29, the Allegheny County Police Department said in a news release obtained by Oxygen.com. Residents at a McKees Rocks apartment complex called authorities after noticing an unpleasant smell coming from an unplugged refrigerator that had been left in a common area; upon inspection, the unnamed residents discovered a decomposing body inside and called the police.
“I’m not even sure it was a person at first. I saw a hand and a dirty sheet. It was gruesome,” one neighbor, John Starling, told local outlet KDKA.
Authorities responded to the area and confirmed the presence of a body, and detectives with the Allegheny County Police Homicide Unit and scientists from the Allegheny County Crime Lab launched an investigation, the ACPD said.
The fridge where Jefferson was found was in a second-floor hallway and was facing backward, with the doors against the wall, residents said, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The refrigerator was around 20 feet from the front door of her boyfriend Daryl Jones’ apartment, WPXI reports.
Police searched the rest of the building and found items bearing Jefferson’s name that were close to Jones’ apartment; they also observed a foul odor coming from the complex’s basement, where they found bed sheets, soaked in undisclosed bodily fluids, stuffed into bags, KDKA reports.
Authorities and prosecutors then made the decision to charge Jones, 40, with abuse of a corpse, authorities said.
It is currently unknown how or when Jefferson died, but The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that she’d been partially dismembered. Authorities have transported her body to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office, where an autopsy is expected to yield further answers, including a manner of death, authorities said.
Jones and Jefferson were in a relationship, and neighbors reported overhearing the pair fight often, according to a criminal complaint obtained by KDKA. Jones is currently in custody at the Allegheny County Jail.
Jefferson leaves behind four children who were all under the age of 18, according to KDKA, as well as a grieving family.
“It’s hurting us. She didn’t deserve this at all,” Delisha Porter, Jefferson’s sister, told the station.
Allegheny County Police have asked that anyone with any information on the case call their tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS, where they will have the option to share information anonymously.
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