MANCHESTER, Connecticut (WFSB) — A man from South Windsor confessed to kneeling on his wife’s neck after a fight and trying to hide the body when he realized he’d killed her.
Tahj Hutchinson, 22, was charged last week in connection with the death of Jessica Edwards. He was arraigned in Manchester Superior Court on Monday.
On Monday afternoon, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death was a homicide by compression of the torso and neck.
Still, the only charge he faced was first-degree manslaughter. Police said more charges could come as their investigation continues.
Edwards’ family and friends were outside of the courthouse pleading for officials to deny bail.
“I am happy that Jessica touched so many lives for her friends and family and strangers to come out and help get justice. We got Jessica home, now it’s time to get her justice,” said Yanique Edwards, Jessica’s sister.
Edwards, a mother of a young child, had been missing for nearly two weeks. Friends and family had been desperately searching for the 30-year-old mother.
Her body was found on May 21 in a heavily wooded area in East Hartford.
Hutchinson was arrested that same day.
According to an arrest warrant released on Monday, family members reported that Hutchinson had a verbal fight with Edwards on May 9, the day before Edwards was reported missing.
Edwards’ sister reported that on May 10, she did not hear from Edwards, which was out of character.
When she went to go check on her sister that evening, she reported that Hutchinson was seen quickly closing the rear hatch of his Jeep. Inside, a blanket appeared to be covering something up. She demanded to see what was under it, but Hutchinson already had the doors locked and quickly drove out of the lot.
Twenty eight minutes later, Hutchinson appeared at the East Hartford Police Department to report that his wife was missing.
South Windsor police launched their investigation and began interviewing witnesses, including Edwards’ sister.
She said she found filled-out divorce paperwork in Edwards’ home. The papers were seized by police as evidence.
Investigators said that while they interviewed Hutchinson the first few times, he did not appear to show any emotion about his missing wife. During one interview, he didn’t even ask about her. They also said he lied about what he was doing the day she disappeared.
He did, however say she was upset over the purchasing of a guinea pig as a Mother’s Day gift.
Police eventually seized the blanket from the rear of his Jeep, which they said had a little blood-like substance on it that Hutchinson claimed may have been from Edwards’ period.
A Jeep privacy cover and a pillow from Edwards’ bedroom were also seized, both with the same blood-like substance on it.
The substance was swabbed and sent to the State Lab for analysis.
Meanwhile, investigators looked at timing data for Hutchinson’s cell phone. A hit was recorded in a wooded area in East Hartford. A short time later, the data showed the phone at the East Hartford Police Department.
On May 21, Edwards’ body was found near a trail in the Hockanum River Linear Park in East Hartford, police said.
The location was one town over from South Windsor, where Edwards lived with her husband and their 7-month-old baby.
Police confronted Hutchinson with what they find out at that point.
They said that’s when he provided a confession.
Hutchinson told police that it started with an argument about guinea pigs on May 9 turned into a physical altercation. He said at one point, he pushed Edwards, which caused her to hit her head and bleed from the ear.
The argument continued the next morning on May 10.
He said Edwards hit him in the head with a laptop and grabbed a kitchen knife. He said the two wrestled over the knife.
Hutchinson said he was able to roll her over onto her stomach with him on top of her. He pinned her there with his knee on her back and neck.
He said she eventually stopped moving. A short time later, when she still didn’t move, he said he realized she was dead.
He told police he kept the body there all day while Edwards’ family kept inquiring about where she was.
That night, he admitted to loading the body into his Jeep and dragging it into a “random GPS” location on his way to East Hartford police to report she was missing.
“I don’t know if you know what it feels like to feel empty, but I feel so empty like I died with Jessica,” said Yanique Edwards, the victim’s sister.
Channel 3’s cameras were there as Hutchinson was taken out of a Manchester home in handcuffs the night of May 21.
Hutchinson is being held on a $1.5 million bond.
The Hartford State’s Attorney’s Office released a statement saying, “On behalf of the Hartford State’s Attorney’s Office, I would like to extend my condolences to Jessica Edwards’ family on their tragic loss and commend them for not giving up on their unbelievably painful search for Jessica. The investigation into the homicide of Jessica is ongoing and the prosecution of this case will be handled by both me and Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Diaz. My office is committed to providing justice for Jessica’s family and making sure the person responsible for this heinous crime is held fully accountable for his actions.”
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