Local News

Warrant: Suspect invited slain Kinston mom to visit children

Posted October 17, 2011 11:15 a.m. EDT
Updated October 17, 2011 8:10 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh man accused of killing and dismembering the estranged mother of two of his sons allegedly sent an email inviting her to his home on the day that she was last seen alive, according to a new search warrant in the case.

The warrant for email records, which was released late Friday, says that Grant Ruffin Hayes, 32, used a Yahoo! email account to invite Laura Jean Ackerson, 27, of Kinston, to visit with the children on July 13.

It had been initially reported that Ackerson was last seen on that day dropping off the children.

She was reported missing five days later, and her remains were found July 24 in a creek in Richmond, Texas, about 60 miles south of Houston.

Hayes' wife, Amanda Perry Hayes, 39, with whom he also shares a child, is also charged with first-degree murder in Ackerson's death.

Raleigh police haven't commented about the case, but Texas authorities say they believe the Hayeses killed Ackerson, cut up her body and carried it in coolers to Texas, where they disposed of her remains in the creek, which is near the home of Amanda Hayes' sister.

Ackerson's relatives have said that she and Grant Hayes had been involved in a contentious child custody dispute over their children, and court documents indicate that Grant Hayes had primary custody of the children.

Police, however, have not offered a motive, only referencing the custody dispute in search warrants.

Prosecutors are expected to announce in December whether they plan to pursue the death penalty against the Hayeses.

"Every fact along the way will be important in determining premeditation and deliberation, among other things," the lead prosecutor in the case, Becky Holt, said Monday. "There's a lot of things to consider and a lot of things to take into account."

The couple, meanwhile, is being held without bond in the Wake County jail.

Grant Hayes' mother is caring for the three children. Ackerson's father has said that he plans to seek custody of his daughter's children.