Boston, MA – The body of a missing 23-year-old mother was found bound and beaten, stuffed inside a suitcase in the trunk of her accused killer’s car.
Jassy Correia had been missing since approximately 2:16 a.m. on Feb 24, after she and her friends celebrated her birthday at the Venu nightclub on Warrenton Street, according to the criminal complaint.
Surveillance footage showed Correia chatting with several people on Tremont Street near the club just moments before a man approached her.
Shortly afterwards, she and the man left the area in a red sedan.
Investigators later identified the man in the video as 32-year-old Louis Coleman, using the Rhode Island driver’s license Coleman provided to be scanned so he could get into the Venu nightclub earlier that evening.
Video surveillance footage from Coleman’s apartment building in Providence, Rhode Island, showed the sedan pulling into the parking lot at approximately 4:15 a.m., according to the affidavit.
Coleman went into the building, and returned with a light-colored blanket. He then carried “a body with long hair and orange pants” back towards the apartment building, court document said.
Investigators said they believed the body was that of Correia.
He then hauled the young mother inside to the elevator.
“The victim was naked from the waist up and was wearing orange pants,” the affidavit read. “The victim was not moving and her body was limp.”
When Coleman reached the sixth floor, he “dragged the victim” down the hallway to his apartment, according to court documents.
Two days later, on the same day Correia’s father reported her as missing, Coleman went to a Walmart store in Providence and purchased a bleach bath product, three Tyvek protective suits, duct tape, electrical tape, surgical gloves, an odor respirator, a mask, two pairs of safety goggles, and two candles.
He hauled the gear back to his apartment in the red sedan – which was registered to his mother in California – and carried them into his apartment.
On Feb. 27, Coleman brought home a large, dark-colored suitcase with bright blue piping, video footage showed.
“The suitcase appeared to be in new condition with sales tags affixed,” the affidavit read.
Four days after Correia was last seen alive, Coleman was seen lugging the suitcase out of his apartment at approximately 1:15 a.m.
Surveillance footage in the parking lot showed that he “appeared to have difficulty lifting the suitcase into the trunk of the red sedan,” but that he ultimately managed to wrestle it inside.
Over the course of the next several hours, he carted a slew of items out to his car, including a bottle of bleach, trash bags, a computer tower, a black laptop case, boxes, and a small duffel bag, according to investigators.
Coleman ultimately drove off in the sedan, but was spotted by Delaware State Police (DSP) near the town of Wilmington later the same day.
By then, DSP was aware that Coleman was suspected to be involved in Correia’s disappearance, and initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle on Interstate 95 South.
The trooper ordered Coleman out of the car, and asked him if anyone else was inside.
“She’s in the trunk,” he replied, according to the affidavit.
Investigators located Correia’s body inside a black plastic bag located within the suitcase.
“The victim, who had significant bruising and blood about her face, was bound with gray duct tape and had a white powdery residue over her body, believed to be baking soda,” the affidavit read.
The passenger-side windshield of the car was also cracked in two places, investigators noted.
Coleman, who was wearing a large bandage on the right side of his face, was taken into custody without incident.
“That injury on your face, does it need to be addressed?” one of the troopers asked him at the Delaware State Police Troop Two barracks, according to the affidavit.
“It’s from the girl,” he responded.
Investigators have not specified where Correia was actually killed.
She died of blunt-force trauma and strangulation, Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said on Sunday, according to the Boston Herald.
Coleman has been charged with kidnapping resulting in death, and faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted, the New York Post reported.
In Rhode Island, he faces additional charges of failure to report a death, kidnapping, and mutilation of a dead body, The Boston Globe reported.
“Federal charges are being brought because of the multi-state nature of the crime and the penalties available in federal court, and they’re being brought here because Ms. Correia was from here, was taken from here, and so justice should be done here,” Lelling explained.
Coleman waived his right to preliminary hearings and detention in Delaware on Monday, and will be extradited back to Massachusetts, The Boston Globe reported.
Correia’s family said she was a loving mother to her 2-year-old daughter, Gabriella, and that she dreamed of having a career as a party planner.
“She was very outgoing,” her friend, Amari Robinson, told The Boston Globe. “She could get along with anybody in the room. Not everyone is like that.”
Roughly one year ago, Correia was beaten and kidnapped by her boyfriend, Miguel Castro, who is also Gabriella’s father, the Boston Patch reported.
“You need to help me,” Correia wrote in a text to Castro’s mother. “Miguel won’t let me leave. Don’t call him. He’ll kill me.”
Correia suffered a fractured orbital bone and a broken nose during the assault, and investigators found her blood splattered all over Castro’s residence.
He was convicted of attempting to lie to police, witness intimidation, and kidnapping, and is currently serving a four-and-one-half year prison sentence.
A fundraising campaign established to help Gabriella and her family had raised over $142,500 as of Wednesday morning.