fb-pixel Skip to main content

Suspect faces kidnap, mutilation charges after death of Jassy Correia

Jassy Correia and her daughter.
Jassy Correia and her daughter. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/file/Globe Staff

Rhode Island authorities have charged Louis D. Coleman III with kidnapping Jassy Correia and mutilating her body after the Boston woman went missing near a Theater District nightspot.

Coleman, who was captured in Delaware Thursday afternoon following a high-speed chase on Interstate 95, was taken into custody as a fugitive from justice and was ordered returned to Rhode Island by a justice of the peace in Delaware on Friday.

“Coleman was taken into custody and a deceased female was found in the trunk of the vehicle,’’ a Delaware State Police detective wrote in an affidavit.

The office of R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha said in a statement Friday afternoon that Providence police, working with state prosecutors, had filed a criminal complaint charging Coleman with “kidnapping, failure to report death, and mutilation of a dead body. All documents in this case remain confidential at this time.”


Neronha’s office said it’s not known “when the defendant will be brought back to Rhode Island to appear in court. Our office will have no further comment on this matter until the defendant appears in court.”

Also Friday, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins, and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross all visited the grieving relatives of Correia at their Dorchester home.

Walsh met with the family for about 40 minutes and declined to comment when he left the residence.

During an afternoon news conference, Rollins and Gross said they’re working closely with authorities in Rhode Island and Delaware but fully intend to prosecute Coleman in Suffolk County if the evidence supports charging them here. He could also face federal charges in Boston, they said.

Correia, Rollins said, “was and is a part of our community. Her family is a part of our community. And her community deserves the chance to see justice done in this city.”


Currently, Rollins said, Correia’s body is at the office of the Delaware Medical Examiner.

Gross added, “We’re going to bust our butts to make sure that justice is served here.”

The Correia family was also met Friday by visitors who came and went from the house with plastic utensils, cups, and plates.

Correia’s father, Joaquin Correia, 50, said earlier Friday by phone that he may have to travel to Delaware to formally identify his daughter. “If I have to go, I want to go,” Joaquin Correia said. “I’m not sure right now what’s going to happen.”

He said he had never seen Coleman or heard of him prior to Thursday when Boston police publicly identified Coleman as a suspect in Correia’s disappearance and said a detective relayed the news of his arrest.

“He told me yesterday, ‘We found the body, we got the guy who’s supposed to be responsible, who killed your daughter,’ ” Correia said. But the “why, when, how — they don’t tell me. So I’m waiting.”

Correia said he was at a loss to explain why anybody would want to harm his daughter, who worked at a restaurant in the Seaport.

“People make mistakes, but this is not the solution, [to] take the person’s life,” he said.

Correia, whose family is from Dorchester, was last seen walking on Tremont Street early Sunday morning in the company of a man whom authorities now say was Coleman, a Providence resident, whose apartment was searched by police Thursday. She had just left the Venu nightclub and was seen in a red car with Coleman, according to authorities.


A law enforcement official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the investigation, said Correia and Coleman are seen on surveillance video entering the Providence apartment together and he appears to be carrying her, but it was not immediately clear what Correia’s condition was at that point in time. However, the official said, Correia is never seen leaving the building.

The official said Coleman is then seen departing while carrying some sort of baggage, possibly suitcases, which authorities now allege contained Correia’s remains.

A Neronha spokeswoman said Friday that an autopsy will be conducted to determine how Correia died. Authorities are also working to identify the location of her death.

In addition, Coleman called Providence police on the night of Feb. 17, about a week before Correia was kidnapped, according to call logs provided by the department.

Coleman reported at the time that he could hear someone “continually knocking” at the door to his apartment, but the person wouldn’t answer when he asked who it was. He also said he was afraid to go outside, the report said. No one was located.

The family has launched a GoFundMe account that by Friday afternoon had raised nearly $95,000, surpassing its $50,000 goal with donations from almost 3,000 people in 20 hours.

Mayor Walsh tweeted about Correia Friday morning.

“The pain that we feel as a city right now is real as we mourn the loss of a young life that was taken too soon,’’ he wrote. “My heart breaks for Jassy’s family and friends, and her young daughter. Together, let’s watch over one another. We are our brothers and our sisters’ keeper.”


Correia was the mother of a 2-year-old girl, Gabriella.

“She was a mother, she was brave, she was strong,” Correia’s cousin Katia Depina said Thursday night at the Dorchester home where family and friends had gathered. “She did not deserve this. She went out to celebrate her birthday and never returned home.’’

“We want justice for her death,” Depina said.

Correia had been living most recently in Lynn, her father said, and was supposed to return to Dorchester Sunday morning to pick up her child from her grandmother. But when her grandmother called Jassy, she didn’t answer.

That was an immediate signal that something was wrong, Joaquin Correia said.

“She never [lost] the time . . . to pick up the baby,” he said. “She calls.”

In the photo of Coleman released by Boston police, he was wearing a lanyard bearing the Raytheon logo. A Raytheon spokesman didn’t answer a question about whether Coleman worked there but said the company is cooperating with investigators.

Correia’s family contacted the Venu nightclub on Wednesday, told staff there that Jassy was in their nightspot but was now missing, said Greg Henning, spokesman for the nightclub. He said Venu downloaded all of their security images, including a snapshot that had been taken of Coleman’s license when he entered the bar, and provided them to Boston police.


“Venu continues to work with law enforcement as we speak on this investigation, and the entire staff expresses its deepest condolences to the Correia family,” Henning said.

Henning declined to provide any other details about what was captured by the surveillance system of Correia and Coleman’s actions before they left the bar. “All of the information has been provided to law enforcement to help bring the responsible person to justice,” Henning said.

Coleman earned a master’s degree in physics two or three years ago from California State University in Long Beach, Calif., according to officials at the school.

Thomas Gredig, a professor and coadviser for Coleman’s thesis, said his former student was interested in bioengineering and worked in an electrical engineering lab in graduate school. He said he hadn’t spoken with Coleman in a few years.

Sophia Eppolito can be reached at sophia.eppolito@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @SophiaEppolito. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Globe correspondent Jeremy C. Fox and Mike Bello of the Globe staff contributed to this story.