Authorities have discovered a key clue in the murder of a pregnant Missouri woman, KTVI-TV reports.
According to the report, Jennifer Rothwell was about six weeks pregnant when she vanished in early November. Her husband, Beau Rothwell, was arrested, and he reportedly led investigators to her body, which was found on November 18.
Court record obtained by the news station now reveal a possible motive for the crime.
Investigators say Jennifer had used her mobile phone to search the internet about “what to do if your husband is upset you are pregnant,” according to search warrants obtained by KTVI-TV.
Police also have obtained receipts that show Beau purchased cleaning supplies and rubber gloves at a store near his home.
“This purchase was oddly at a time during a major snow event involving dangerous driving conditions and was also contradictory to Beau Rothwell’s statement that he was home with his wife all night,” an investigator wrote in the documents.
Beau had reported Jennifer missing on November 12. In conversations with police, he said he had last seen Jennifer at 6:20 a.m. at their house when she left for work. Police say he missed four phone calls from her several minutes later.
Jennifer’s phone was located inside her car, which authorities found abandoned.
Adding to the suspicious circumstances, Beau’s truck, which was located a mile from the couple’s home, reeked of bleach, especially on the bed of the truck. A garage window had also been left open, even though it was particularly cold outside, in an apparent “attempt to dissipate the odor,” the search warrant states.
Police further found evidence of hair and blood in the home’s basement, where it also smelled like bleach. Basement windows were also open.
Beau did not give consent to the police searches, although police had search warrants, and he “declined to further assist the investigation and requested legal counsel,” the warrants state.
Beau later started cooperating with police on Nov. 18 and police located Jennifer’s body 45 miles north of St. Louis.
Prosecutors have charged Beau with second-degree murder and evidence tampering, and he remains in the St. Louis County Jail without bond. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance in late January.
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