Missing Indiana mother's remains found in woods 13 months after boyfriend killed her for denying sex
LAKE COUNTY, INDIANA: The remains of a 36-year-old mother-of-six from Illinois were reportedly found in the woods of Northwest Indiana, over 13 months after she was reported missing while she was with her boyfriend and another woman, reports state. A skull and other remains were found by a city worker from Gary on April 9 in the wooded region. Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr said that the remains were later identified as those of Jessica Flores.
After the initial alert, Lake County sheriff’s deputies, Gary police, and a cadaver search dog were called to the scene and additional human remains belonging to the woman were discovered. The Sheriff said that dental records confirmed the identity of the remains as those of the mother from South Chicago Heights. "According to the Lake County coroner's office, dental records matched remains that were found in a wooded area near 9th and Clark in Gary," Martinez said.
The woman's sister, Mady Perez, while talking to Northwest Indiana Times, said the family was relieved that Flores was finally found and is now free. "We want to thank everyone who came out to help search for my sister Jessica and have kept her in prayers,' she said. 'We will not stop until we get justice for my sister. Her children and my mother deserve this. My sister is now free," Perez told the outlet.
Flores was reportedly missing in late February 2019 from Gary, along with another woman, 26-year-old Melina Cottrell, who was later found alive. Multiple searches were conducted last year to locate the 36-year-old after a car belonging to her boyfriend, 41-year-old Drew 'Tiny' Carter III, was found in a burnt state in South Chicago Heights. The vehicle had some of Flores' belonging inside and her blood in the backseat.
Carter was apprehended shortly after and was charged in March 2019 with murder, kidnapping, and criminal confinement in connection to Flores' disappearance and presumed death. He was charged after a witness told authorities that the 41-year-old had shot and killed Flores during an argument over sex. According to the witness, Carter allegedly shot Flores with a revolver in the backseat of his car after she told him she would not let him have sex with a witness. There is, however, another version of events drawn by authorities which proposes that Carter killed Flores because she refused to have sex with him.
Carter, however, continued to remain in prison with weapon charges after two guns were recovered from his possession when he was arrested for Flores' murder. Another potential witness in the case, identified as George Heath, was also found shot dead in his home in March. No arrests have been made yet in the murder case.
The Lake County Prosecutor's Office, shortly before Carter's trial last year, dropped the charges against him because the Indiana State Police had not had the time to prepare all the evidence for trial. The charges were dismissed by a judge without prejudice, allowing prosecutors to refile them in the future, reports state.