PACIFIC, Mo. | A man stabbed his girlfriend to death at an apartment here and cut her body into pieces, officials said this afternoon after charging him with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.
Vernell J. Loggins Jr., 37, is held in lieu of a $1 million cash-only bond in the slaying of Stephanie M. Fields, who would have turned 26 today.
Police said they had lived together for several months at the Monroe Woods Apartments, just north of Interstate 44 near the Pacific exit.
A maintenance worker there found parts of her body about noon Tuesday in a 64-gallon wheeled trash can that had been left next to a Dumpster at the complex.
Never miss a local story.
Officials said they believe Fields was slain Nov. 1 or 2, suffering fatal wounds to the chest and neck. She was identified by tattoos. Investigators said some parts of her body remain missing, but they would not go into detail.
“It was a very violent, gruesome crime,” said Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Bob Parks. “This was a domestic relationship that went terribly, terribly wrong.”
He would not elaborate on a motive.
Court documents say parts of Fields’ body were found under ice cubes in the trash can, whose top had been glued shut. They say that two bags recovered from the Dumpster contained rags and paper towels with what appeared to be blood, a label from a new trash can, empty ice bags and a Walmart receipt for a trash can and glue.
A surveillance video from a nearby Walmart shows a man purchasing an identical can, detergent and carpet cleaner about 9:30 p.m. Monday and leaving in a white Cadillac Escalade with a license plate that is registered to Loggins, officials said.
He was arrested at home without incident Tuesday night by tactical officers who also served a search warrant. Court documents say they found a substantial amount of blood and tissue in the apartment.