John Matthew Chapman has been charged with kidnapping, obstructing administration of law, and criminal use of a communication facility in connection with his missing girlfriend, Jaime Rae Feden, BuzzFeed News reports.
The 39-year-old allegedly admitted to driving Feden from a suburb of Pittsburgh to Las Vegas, telling her it was a vacation with the “potential of acquiring residence” there, according to a criminal complaint. Police said Chapman confessed to zip-tying his 33-year-old girlfriend’s hands and feet to a signpost in the desert, then suffocating her by duct taping her nose and mouth closed. Police said Chapman killed Feden in Nevada.
After having not seen her since Sept. 15, Feden’s family reported her missing on Thursday. Police subsequently did a welfare check at her home that day and discovered her phone and a backpack with zip ties and duct tape inside.
Police haven’t yet found her body, though Nevada authorities have recovered the remains of a woman that matches her description. The body had a tattoo of a four-leaf clover and the names “Keith, Robin, Jason,” which matches a tattoo on Feden.
Last week, Pittsburgh outlet WPXI reported that Chapman wasn’t actually single, but had been married for a year. On Friday, police phoned his wife Maureen Chapman to notify her of her husband’s “double life” and the alleged murder of Feden.
Maureen claimed that John also called her on Friday to confess to the killing, saying, “I killed her because I had to.” She also said he borrowed her truck and was led to believe that her husband took it to Las Vegas for a work trip.
Feden’s longtime friend Nikki Lawrence told BuzzFeed that her friend likely didn’t know Chapman was married. Feden and John met around 2009 and had been dating off and on since then. Lawrence said she knew the couple argued and that Feden’s family disapproved of John.
When Lawrence realized she hadn’t seen her friend since September, Lawrence texted Feden. She received responses from Feden’s number, but now believes Chapman was responding to the messages. Lawrence also believes Chapman was speaking with Feden’s family, and posting photos and check-ins to Feden’s Facebook account after he had killed her.
On Thursday, the day Feden’s family reported her missing, a status on her Facebook account read that she hated her family and alleged “they called the cops because I won't jump to their wishes,” per BuzzFeed.