A Colorado mother’s dismembered remains were found Wednesday in Oklahoma a day after she was reported missing in her home state, PEOPLE confirms
Investigators believe Ashley Mead, 25, was killed in Boulder. Before her remains were found in Oklahoma, her body was “at least partially dismembered outside of Shreveport, Louisiana,” according to a news release from Boulder Police
Now, police are seeking the public’s help to locate missing body parts possibly discarded in purple luggage somewhere in the Southwest.
A suspect, Adam Densmore, who is the father of Ashley Mead’s child, was arrested Wednesday on charges of first-degree murder and is being held in the Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, jail, a spokesman tells PEOPLE.
Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice said at a news conference Friday that Densmore was pulled over by an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper for a traffic stop Wednesday afternoon. He was traveling with his and Mead’s daughter, Winter, who appeared unharmed.
Densmore initially was arrested after the trooper turned up a Colorado warrant for an alleged custody violation. His daughter was placed in the temporary care of Child Protective Services in Oklahoma.
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Shortly after Densmore was stopped, Okmulgee Police said that a suitcase found in a dumpster at the gas station of an Okmulgee Wal-mart was revealed to contain a human torso with several body parts missing. Densmore was served with the first-degree murder warrant while in custody.
“The Medical Examiner in Oklahoma has not made an official identification,” the Boulder Police statement reads. “However, investigators from the Boulder Police Department and Okmulgee Police Department have tentatively identified the remains as Ashley Mead based on observations made during the autopsy.”
Boulder Police still are investigating the path that Densmore drove after they believe he left Boulder on the evening of Feb. 12. Police say “there are concerns that some of the victim’s body parts may have been discarded in a variety of communities the suspect passed through after the homicide.”
Authorities currently believe Densmore drove from Boulder south to Raton, New Mexico, then south and east through the Texas panhandle before arriving in Haughton, Louisiana, on the evening of Feb. 13. The next morning, Densmore drove to Conway, Arkansas, where he spent the night, police believe. On the morning of Feb. 15, he left Conway and stopped in Okmulgee before being located and arrested just west of Tulsa, police believe.
“It is believed that a portion of Ashley Mead’s body could be in a purple suitcase,” the Boulder Police statement reads. “If anyone sees a suitcase placed in an odd location, they are asked not to touch it and to contact their local police department immediately.”
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A friend of Mead’s, Morgan Jeknavorian, said that Mead and Desmore had been an on-again, off-again couple and broke up years ago. Despite this, Jeknavorian said, Mead had moved to Boulder after learning she was pregnant with their child so that Winter could know her father, reports The Denver Channel.
But Mead recently had begun a new relationship.
“She told him about it, and he cried, and then he apologized to her. But then he kept drinking, and he would say ‘I’m drinking because of you. You’ve made me an alcoholic,'” Jeknavorian said. “I think that he just saw that she was so happy, and he was just so miserable. I don’t know. I think that he just snapped.”
The court has sealed the arrest affidavit charging Densmore, and no attorney for him was immediately identified.
Information on whether he has entered a plea was not immediately available.
A statement from Boulder County Head Start, where Mead worked as a teacher, recalled her “bubbly personality, her radiant love for her baby girl, and her zany clothing choices.”
“She was a dreamer and a goal setter with lots of love for all,” according to the statement.
Friends responded to Mead’s disappearance by launching a GoFundMe page that will support a college fund for her daughter.