Local News

Couple's apartment focus of Kinston woman's slaying

Posted August 9, 2011 6:18 p.m. EDT
Updated August 19, 2011 12:49 p.m. EDT

— Search warrants released Tuesday in the murder investigation of a Kinston woman show that police focused their search on the Raleigh apartment of her former boyfriend.

The dismembered remains of Laura Jean Ackerson, 27, were found in a creek about 60 miles south of Houston, Texas, on July 25, a week after she was reported missing.

Grant Hayes, 32, the father of Ackerson's two children, and his wife, Amanda Hayes, 39, are charged with first-degree murder.

Raleigh police have released few details about their investigation, but the six warrants – three of which were for the Hayeses' apartment at 4021-322 Bella Park Trail – suggest that investigators suspect the pair killed and possibly dismembered Ackerson in the home.

Police seized several items on three different days, including carpet and padding, a toilet brush, a towel and wash cloth, hair and debris from a drain, showerheads, a box of trash bags, a comforter, sheets, pillow cases, a mattress cover, a vacuum, a broom, a camcorder and a laptop computer, among other items.

Investigators also sought warrants for Ackerson's car, records for a credit card belonging to Amanda Hayes and a storage unit at Secure Care Self Storage on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh.

The warrants also confirm many details from Texas authorities and family members.

According to search warrant affidavits, Kinston police contacted Raleigh investigators on July 19 after Grant Hayes admitted that Ackerson visited him at his apartment on July 13.

Grant Hayes and Ackerson were involved in a "contentious child custody case," investigators wrote in the warrants, and Ackerson had driven to Raleigh to visit her two sons at their father's home.

She then had plans to meet a friend in Cary later that day, but she never showed up.

Several days later, police found Ackerson's white 2006 Ford Focus in the parking lot of a Raleigh apartment complex where Grant Hayes once lived and approximately 400 yards from the Bella Park Trail apartment the Hayeses shared, according to the warrants. 

Police also learned that Grant and Amanda Hayes rented a U-Haul in Raleigh and left town shortly after Ackerson's disappearance. They returned it in Texas.

When police traveled to Texas, according to the affidavits, they learned that "Amanda Hayes and Grant Hayes had killed Laura Ackerson." They found additional evidence, the papers state, indicating that her body had been dismembered.

The warrants provide few other details about the crime itself.

Investigators in Texas, however, say Ackerson's remains were discovered in a Richmond, Texas, creek, about 100 yards from the home of Amanda Hayes' sister.