MANDEVILLE, LA -- The man accused of killing his ex-wife and leaving her body in a wooded area near I-12 has turned himself in to Calcasieu Parish authorities.
Calvin Jefferson is facing second-degree murder charges in the death of his ex-wife, Nicole Jefferson.
Nicole Jefferson, the mother of four, disappeared more than a week ago. On Monday, April 30, she never showed up for work. Jefferson worked as a TSA Agent at Armstrong International Airport in Kenner.
Initially, investigators worked the case as a missing person, but eventually, Sheriff Jack Strain said, their investigation began to focus on Calvin Jefferson and inconsistencies in his story.
"We believe that Jefferson began to run when he recognized that we had intensified our investigation, probably late into the night Wednesday and early into Thursday," Strain said. "We now know his version of the events that occurred are much different than the evidence that we've been able to compile, including statements from other people."
Strain described Jefferson's history of domestic violence. He was arrested three times while the couple lived in Texas, for domestic violence against Nicole Jefferson. The couple divorced, and Nicole Jefferson moved to Mandeville.
Late in 2011, according to Strain, she invited her ex-husband to live with her and their four children.
"Sadly, he was able to commit violence to Nicole on at least three occasions that we know," Strain said. "And it ultimately ended with the death of a young mother. I would like to use this as a call to women or individuals who find themselves in a violent situation in a relationship, there is help out there. Get out of it, because we see too often that many times those violent relationships turn into a tragedy."
St. Tammany investigators impounded Calvin Jefferson's car. According to Strain, they believe it was used in the murder, but for now, the coroner cannot determine how Nicole Jefferson died.
Her body was found seven days after her murder, just behind the tree line along I-12 near Covington. Strain wouldn't elaborate on what led deputies to search that area, but in the warm Louisiana weather, the decomposition process was well underway.
"The actual cause of death, because of the advanced state of decomposition, can be problematic," said St. Tammany Coroner Dr. Peter Galvan.
Dr. Galvan said forensic doctors found no evidence of gunshots, and they eventually expect to know more about exactly how Nicole Jefferson died. He did, however, rule it a homicide, based largely, he said, on the fact that the body of an otherwise healthy 31-year-old woman was found dumped along I-12.
"When you look at the totality of the evidence, and everything that we have compiled since Monday morning, there is not a question in my mind that we will get a conviction on Jefferson," Sheriff Strain said.