County sheriff deputies Mike Ray and Derek Foremaster traveled to Bethel Park, Pa., the first weekend in December to gather information about the murder of a Bethel Park woman, 33-year old Jamie Feden, whose body was found Oct. 5 in Lincoln County.
The deputies met with members of the Bethel Park police regarding confessed killer 39-year old John Chapman of Oakland, Md. He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh but has not yet been formally charged with murder.
The deputies also visited with Feden’s family in Bethel Park.
Feden was recently positively identified by the Clark County Coroner’s office in Las Vegas.
Police reports in Pennsylvania noted Feden and Chapman had a tumultuous on-again, off-again relationship for a number of years.
News reports from Pittsburgh TV stations state that Chapman was arrested Nov. 15 after Feden’s neighbors reported seeing him living at her house, but she had not been seen since mid-September. They reported their suspicions to the police. Feden’s cell phone was found in the house.
Chapman has admitted he and Feden went to Las Vegas around Sept. 25. Her body was discovered on the Kane Springs Road about 80 miles north of Las Vegas Oct. 5 and when found, decomposition appeared to be at least a week old.
An aunt told TV news reports in Bethel Park, the family is trying to “wrap their heads around everything that has happened,” saying they feel “she was taken advantage of.”
Feden suffered from a rare genetic disease, Vater’s Syndrome, which affects the body’s bone structure. At 4-foot 1-inch and 75 pounds, she often had trouble convincing people she really was an adult and occasionally felt discriminated against.
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said, “There were no clothes found anywhere at the scene and at first the body was thought to be that of a child.”
However, after Chapman was arrested in Pennsylvania and made his confession in mid-November, the Clark County Coroner’s office was able to make a positive ID from dental records and tattoos found on the body that matched those Feden was known to have.
Lee said after the information gathered by Ray and Foremaster is compiled, it will be presented to District Attorney Dylan Frehner.
“We needed to at least have a preliminary report that he can review and see if there is enough evidence to file charges. We are hoping we can submit our report to the DA this week. He may then take about a week to review them and may be able to file charges near the end of the year and have Chapman extradited back to Lincoln County for trial.”
Lee said the trip for his deputies was “very well worth it as they came back with a lot of information, enough that we can be able to draw up a preliminary criminal complaint.” That will likely be taken to Meadow Valley Justice Court in Pioche and then sent on to district court.
The FBI Las Vegas office is also assisting in the investigation, in particular, related to the kidnapping charges Chapman faces.
He is set to face formal charges in Allegheny County, Pa., at the end of January.
Other reports note that a check of Chapman’s criminal background found 26 previous indictments of wire fraud and identity theft.
A clear motive for the murder has not yet been given.