A Michigan man has been arrested and charged with the strangulation death of his friend with autism months after her body was found in a river.
Jessica Marie Fox, 30, vanished in late March at the Indian Crossing Trails in Tecumseh, according to the Michigan State Police. Police described Christopher Maurer, the man who was last with her as a “friend.”
Now, 33-year-old Maurer has been charged with murdering his alleged friend. He was arrested on June 24, according to police. and he has since been charged with homicide, open murder and domestic violence, according to online court records. Open murder is a combination of first and second degree murder; typically the jury will make the final determination on which degree is appropriate.
“Fox is autistic and easily manipulated,” police noted back in March. Police initially believed she was waiting for an “unknown friend” to pick her up from the trail area when she vanished.
Fox’s body was discovered in the River Raisin in Raisin Township in early April. A subsequent autopsy determined that she was murdered by strangulation, according to local outlet WTVG.
Video surveillance from a Tecumseh gas station showed Fox inside the establishment on the afternoon she vanished, according to MLive. In the footage, she gets into the passenger side of a tan Ford F-150 extended pickup before the vehicle takes off.
Both Fox and Maurer are from the Michigan town of Adrian. Police noted that they determined Maurer to be a person of interest after an “extensive investigation.”
Maurer pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him and is being held on $505,000 bond, local radio station WLEN reports. He is scheduled for a probable cause hearing on July 6. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.