KSDK -- Franklin County prosecutor Bob Parks announced there has been an arrest in connection to the killing of a woman found dead in an apartment complex trash bin. Authorities believe Vernell J. Loggins Jr. stabbed his girlfriend at the apartment they shared and then discarded her body in a trash can just a few feet away.
Authorities call this a particularly brutal crime. They say the body was dismembered. The victim's family was forced to identify her by her tattoos. Just last week, friends said Stephanie Fields tried to leave Loggins.
"She came to my house last Monday, was having problems with him," said Fields' friend Randi Adams. "She told us she was trying to get away from him. So we took her to where she had to go to, to her mother's house. And we thought everything was fine."
Unfortunately, it was not; a maintenance man found her body in a trash bin Tuesday.
What police found at the scene of the crime is disturbing. In the probable cause statement, police reported seeing loose ice cubes on top of the dismembered body, which was stuffed in a trash can. The top of the trash can had a substance around it that appeared to be super glue.
Two trash bags were also recovered from the bin. Inside one of them were rags and paper towels and what appeared to be blood. Also inside the bag was a sticker for a 64 gallon trash can and mail with Loggins' address on it.
"I'm not going to get into specifics except to say the body was mutilated and we are asking for the public's help in locating any body parts," said Franklin County prosecutor Robert Parks.
Parks said Loggins used a knife to kill Fields. He said the killing took place between November 1 and November 2 at an apartment in the complex. Parks did not have a motive for the killing. He said the two were living together for the past few months as boyfriend and girlfriend.
On Wednesday, authorities continued to search, focusing on an area near Interstate 44 and Lewis Road. They also revisited the Monroe Woods Apartment complex with dogs.
Police arrested Loggins at his apartment Tuesday night. In fact, he had been here all along as we discovered when we reviewed our video from the scene. The NewsChannel 5 video shows, in the middle of all the chaos and all the residents looking on, there was Loggins watching too. Neighbors and friends said they're in shock.
A review of surveillance video from the Eureka Wal-Mart at 9:30 a.m. on November 2 revealed a man that police determined to be Loggins wearing a red Cardinals baseball cap and purchasing a trash can. Records show Loggins also bought Resolve cleaner.
Blood and other matter were found inside the apartment.
"It's very alarming to know that you feel like you live in a safe area and you see people coming and going every day and that they're capable of that kind of violence and disrespect," said neighbor Cheryl Bellamy.
"Something is wrong with this man," Adams said. "Something is wrong with his brain. Bad enough he killed her, he didn't have to mutilate her too."
Loggins is being held in the Franklin County Jail on $1 million cash-only bond. He's set to be arraigned Thursday morning.
Wednesday was Fields' birthday. She would have been 26.