Louis D. Coleman III, the 32-year-old Providence man charged with kidnapping Jassy Correia last weekend and mutilating her body, holds impressive academic credentials from Cal State University and wasn’t well known to police in the city he’s called home for about two years.
The cause of Correia’s death has not been released, and Coleman has not been charged with killing her.
Coleman had a brief interaction with Providence police about a week before Correia was kidnapped.
On the night of Feb. 17, he called police to report that someone was continually knocking on the door to his apartment on Chestnut Street in Providence, according to call logs provided by the department.
Coleman reported that the person wouldn’t answer when he asked who was there and that he was afraid to go outside, the logs show. Police responded but told him there was nothing they could do unless he felt threatened, according to the logs. No one who might have been knocking was located.
The former California resident holds a master’s degree in experimental physics from Cal State University, Long Beach, and worked to develop a sleep-aid app before starting a job in 2017 at Raytheon’s location in Portsmouth, R.I., according to his social media profiles.
Cal State confirmed Thursday that Coleman received his master’s degree there. His co-thesis adviser, professor Thomas Gredig, told the Globe his former student was interested in bioengineering and worked in an electrical engineering lab, but the two haven’t spoken in a few years.
Raytheon said Thursday that the company is cooperating with law enforcement, but on Friday again refused to answer any questions about Coleman’s employment.
Another co-adviser for Coleman at Cal State said his thesis focused on the physics of respiration. For his final exam, Coleman gave a presentation before about 30 to 40 faculty members and students gathered in a physics classroom, said the professor, who asked not to be named because he doesn’t want to be associated with the case.
Coleman stuttered throughout the presentation, the professor said, noting it was the only time he saw the student struggle to communicate.
“His speech was stuttering under the stress of the situation,” he said.
The professor described Coleman as a quiet and “fairly smart” student. At times, he said, Coleman struggled financially and missed deadlines for school work. Otherwise, the professor said, Coleman didn’t leave much an impression.
On his personal website, Coleman describes himself as a “Developer, Engineer, Physicist.”
“Louis Coleman encourages clients to rethink their design, process and service by helping them break free from preconceived ideas, refesh [sic] team creativity with solutions that make the final product and research highly competitive, and maximize savings passed on to consumers by helping management minimize project risk,” the site says.
The website also lays out Coleman’s reasons for pursuing a bachelor’s degree in science as an undergraduate.
“Inspired by the beautify [sic] of the universe and always wondering how things worked lead [sic] Louis to pursue and graduate with a degree in physics,” the site says. “His love of computers pushed him to learn about programming and his curious nature guided him to biomedical and electrical engineering electives during his undergraduate degree.”
But what drove an inquisitive young scientist, inspired by the world’s natural beauty, to allegedly kidnap and mutilate the body of a 23-year-old mother, whose remains were discovered in the trunk of his vehicle after a high-speed chase in Delaware?
It’s a mystery that law enforcement officials will attempt to unravel as Coleman remains in the process of being brought back to Rhode Island to face initial charges of kidnapping, refusal to report a death with intent to conceal a crime, and mutilation of a dead human body.
Correia, whose family is from Dorchester, was last seen walking on Tremont Street early Sunday morning in the company of Coleman after leaving the Venu nightclub and getting into a red car with him, according to authorities.
Calls to Coleman’s relatives in California weren’t immediately returned on Friday.
His website says he started working on a sleep counter app in 2013. “Dreaming of helping millions of people pushed him to use knowledge obtained during his degree program to help those with insomnia,” the site says.
Three years later, he announced a new development in regards to the app. “Sleep Counter: Mobile/Wearable App Release,” an entry on the site is headlined. “Project will be released to the public after extensive beta testing!”