Police arrest missing woman's ex-boyfriend, wife

Laura Ackerson (Image source: Linked in)
July 26, 2011 3:16:01 AM PDT
Raleigh police have arrested Laura Ackerson's ex-boyfriend and his wife after authorities in Texas found the body of a woman over the weekend.

Around 1 a.m. Monday, Raleigh police arrested 32-year-old Grant Ruffin Hayes, and his wife, 39-year-old Amanda Perry Hayes, in Kinston. Both are charged with murder in connection with Ackerson's death.

Authorities have not officially identified the body found Sunday in Oyster Creek near Skinner Lane in Richmond, Texas as Ackerson, but her family members tell ABC11 that Raleigh police believe the body is more than likely the 27-year-old Kinston mother, who was reported missing on July 18.

A spokesman for the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office said Sunday that two Raleigh detectives were in Texas, and the Raleigh Police Department is the lead agency in the investigation.

ABC11 sister station KTRK reported that the body found in Texas was dismembered and it appeared the murder was committed elsewhere and the body dumped where it was found.

Authorities are still searching the creek, but confirmed the discovery of a human head and a leg Monday afternoon.

"They didn't want to let us know anything, so we just stood around a little bit and saw them pulling out body parts ... it was just his torso area," said a Texas man who watched as authorities made the gruesome discovery.

Investigators have located several coolers at scene and believe the coolers were used to transport body parts in a rented U-Haul from North Carolina to Texas. A machete was also found at scene, but KTRK reports that officials believe the machete was not used in the dismemberment.

The Texas news station also reports that a home near where the body was found belongs to a relative of Amanda Hayes.

Investigators say Ackerson last saw her children, who lived with their father Grant Hayes in Raleigh, on July 13.

The 27-year-old was supposed to pick them up again the following Friday at a meeting spot in Wilson, but Hayes said she never showed up. That's according to Hayes' mother.

A coworker contacted police when Ackerson didn't show up for work the next Monday.

Ackerson's 2006 white Ford Focus was found Wednesday near an apartment building at 5400 Summit Manor Lane in north Raleigh. Ackerson, Hayes, and their children once lived at the complex and a woman living there told ABC11 Hayes' current home is not far away.

On Friday afternoon, Raleigh police released surveillance images of Ackerson recorded the morning of July 13. She was wearing a brown sleeveless blouse and tan Capri pants. She was carrying a black leather bag with white lettering and a brown Liz Claiborne purse.

Police are not revealing the location of the camera footage.

Ackerson and Hayes have been involved in a custody battle over their children for more than a year. Hayes was granted primary custody of the children in 2010.

Her family says even before Ackerson was reported missing, she was estranged from the family because, they say, Grant Hayes kept her away.

"Very controlling and very manipulative," Ackerson's brother Jason Ackerson said. "It was hard to contact her without her getting in fear of her life her ex-boyfriend. And we should have taken the threats more seriously."

Ackerson's brother says the toughest thing he has ever done was to call his mother Monday morning to tell her Laura was dead.

Although Ackerson's mother's intuition told her last week that her daughter may never come home again, she was still crushed by the news.

"Grant Hayes and his wife are monsters," Jason Ackerson said. "And I hope that anybody that knows them or has followed them and enjoyed his music understands that about them."

Grant Hayes is a local musician in Raleigh, who is known by the stage name, Grant Haze. According to social networking sites, he and his wife recently had a child together.

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