Jassy Correia, who went missing Sunday in Boston, was found dead five days later inside the truck of a car stopped by Delaware State Police Thursday. 3/1/19
Damian Giletto, The News Journal
WILMINGTON, Del. — A man who was arrested in Delaware after a woman’s body was found in the trunk of his car now faces a federal charge.
U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling announced Sunday that federal prosecutors would be taking the lead in the case against Louis D. Coleman III.
Lelling said the charge of kidnapping resulting in the death of 23-year-old Massachusetts woman Jassy Correia would make 32-year-old Coleman eligible for the death penalty if convicted. It also carries a mandatory life sentence.
“Federal charges are being brought here (in Massachusetts) because of the multi-state nature of the crime and penalties available in federal court,” he said. “They’re being brought here because Miss (Jassy) Correia was from here and was taken from here. And so justice should be done here, if at all possible.”
Correia, the mother of a 2-year-old daughter, was last seen alive Feb. 24 leaving a nightclub in Boston with an unidentified man and getting into a red or maroon car.
Coleman was later identified as a suspect using an image of his driver’s license from the nightclub, according to prosecutors.
During a Sunday afternoon press conference, Lelling revealed several new details about the case, according to video from CBS Boston.
He said it appears as though Correia died from blunt force trauma and strangulation. The windshield of Coleman’s car was cracked, suggesting the young woman may have put up a fight.
Lelling said Coleman was seen on surveillance video carrying Correia’s body into his Providence apartment about 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 24.
On Tuesday, Coleman went to a Walmart, where he bought several items before the kidnapping, including three protective suits, electrical tape, duct tape, candles, mask surgical gloves, safety goggles, an odor respirator and bleach, Lelling said during the press conference.
The surveillance footage shows Coleman at 1:15 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28 wheeling a suitcase from his apartment to the car, Lelling said. He was arrested later that day in Delaware.
Police in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware and other states were on alert to find the vehicle seen in surveillance video. Around 2 p.m. Thursday, Delaware State Police spotted the car, and after a brief chase on I-95, pulled it over at an exit.
After Coleman was pulled over by Delaware state police, he said words to the effect of “she’s in the trunk,” according to Lelling.
That’s where they found Correia’s naked body, in the suitcase, covered in what is believed to be baking soda.
Police also found a pair of heavy-duty loppers, used to cut tree limbs, Lelling said, as well as pliers, a gas canister and a butane lighter, among other things.
Coleman had a large bandage on his face and when asked about it, he is alleged to have said “It’s from the girl,” Lelling said during the press conference.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said the death has been a “world of tragedy” for Correia’s family.
“The Boston Police Department, we haven’t slept in like three days,” he said. “No family should ever, ever have to go through this again.”
Coleman waived his right to an extradition hearing and records indicate he was jailed at Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington.
A GoFundMe page set up Thursday to raise money to help support the Correia’s 2-year-old daughter has already surpassed its initial goal. As of Sunday at 4:30 p.m., it had raised $121,799.
“She was a mother, she was brave, she was strong,” Correia’s cousin Katia Depina told The Boston Globe Thursday night at a Dorchester home where family and friends had gathered. “She did not deserve this. She went out to celebrate her birthday and never returned home.’’
Contributing: The Associated Press
Follow Jessica Bies on Twitter: @jessicajbies.
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