Donna G. Lay, 56, was reported missing on January 27 after she had not been seen since January 7.
Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird stated that officers had interviewed Lay's boyfriend, 58-year-old John Meadows the day she had been reported missing and from the beginning of the investigation, "His story didn't make a whole lot of sense."
During subsequent interviews, Bird said, “His stories were very inconsistent. They were very suspicious.”
Over the weekend, investigators were able to find enough reason to obtain a search warrant for Lay's apartment.
On Monday, February 1 at approximately 10 am, officers showed up to the apartment to execute the search warrant.
Meadows was there and since they did not have any charges against him at that time, they allowed him to stay with friends and relatives at a nearby apartment while the search was conducted.
Within minutes of using a chemical that reveals the presence of blood, "We could see signs of blood," Bird stated. "After being in the apartment for a few minutes, we got a faint smell that was consistent with decomposition."
Two Williamsburg Police Department cadaver dogs were brought in independently and both alerted to a garbage can that was inside the apartment. It had been placed into a closet, sealed with duct tape, wrapped in black plastic bags, and sealed with duct tape once again.
"After the dogs alerted, we opened the garbage can and there was a human body inside," Bird said.
Meadows was arrested and booked into the Whitley County Detention Center on charges of murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with physical evidence. His court date has been set for April 19 at 11:00 am.
While there is no reason to believe that the remains belong to anyone other than Lay, confirmation is taking longer than initially anticipated. At the time of this writing, no official statement can be found confirming the identity of the remains.
The following day a medical examiner determined the cause of death to be a single gunshot wound to the head and the manner to be homicide.
Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley has stated that "We would love to be able to talk to some family." It is believed that Lay was from the Bowling Green area. Despite residing in Whitley County for years, she did not have family local the Lexington Herald Leader reported.