Police in Vermont have arrested an ex-convict for the 2019 murder of his former girlfriend, who had previously complained to the authorities that she “feared for her life.”
Deven Moffitt, 32, of Bennington, was taken into custody by the Vermont State Police on a second-degree murder charge Wednesday in the death of Jessica Hildenbrandt, 43, police said in a news release.
Moffitt’s arrest came following the identification of Hildenbrandt’s jawbone and other remains found in a gravel pit.
Detectives determined that Hildenbrandt and Moffitt had been in a relationship while Moffitt was imprisoned in Vermont on a previous conviction, police said.
When police came to arrest Moffitt Wednesday, he fled, leading troopers on a chase, which ended with the suspect being tackled to the ground, reported News10.
The 32-year-old was jailed without bail and was scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge Thursday afternoon.
Police said their investigation goes back to Sept. 17, 2019, when a man reported finding what appeared to be a human jawbone at a gravel pit in Searsburg. Police eventually found more human remains at the site.
In July 2020, the Vermont Forensic Laboratory identified the remains as those of Hildenbrandt through DNA analysis. The Vermont Chief Medical Examiner’s Office ruled her death a homicide that September.
In March 2019, Hildenbrandt reported to the Windsor County State’s Attorney’s Office and later to state police that she feared for her life if Moffitt were to be released from prison, police said.
A detective interviewed Hildenbrandt, but she ultimately stopped cooperating with the investigation, and law enforcement was unable to pursue the matter further, police said in the news release.
“In the course of the complex, lengthy investigation, detectives spoke with numerous witnesses and associates of Hildenbrandt and Moffitt; analyzed cellphone calling, text-message and location data; executed digital search warrants; and reviewed call records from the Department of Corrections,” the news release said.
After the discovery and identification of Hildenbrandt’s remains, the Vermont State Police learned that Hildenbrandt had posted bail for Moffitt on July 8, 2019, in a newly filed criminal case.
Evidence in the Hildenbrandt case indicates she was killed in mid-July 2019, police said.
With Post Wires