(ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt.) — Melissa Jenkins’ 2-year-old son Ty apparently witnessed his mother’s strangulation and tried to tell police what happened by pulling on his neck, according to court documents released Wednesday.
The documents were released following the arraignment Wednesday of Allen Prue, 30, and his wife, Patricia Prue, 33, in the death of the well liked Vermont science teacher.
The St. Johnsbury couple are being charged with second-degree murder and improper disposal of a body, dumping Jenkins’ naked body in a shallow river.
The Prues’ motive for murder remains unclear, however the couple’s second degree murder charge indicates that police don’t have evidence that it was premeditated.
Jenkins’ son was asleep when police found him inside his mother’s idling SUV Sunday evening.
The toddler had a difficult time telling police what he saw, claiming “a boy” and “Michael Jordan” were in the car with his mother, court papers said.
“At one point the child said that his mommy cried and he pulled on the back of his neck,” the documents stated.
On Sunday night, Patricia Prue used a prepaid phone she purchased earlier that day to call Jenkins, 33, and ask for help, claiming her car had broken down, the court papers say.
When Jenkins arrived, Allen Prue told police he strangled the single mother.
Allen Prue had plowed Jenkins’ driveway several years ago and had asked her on a date. Jenkins’ friend told police she had been “uncomfortable” around Prue. When he showed up at her home last fall to offer his services, the friend told police Jenkins declined and said she would call him if she ever needed him.
Jenkins told her ex-boyfriend in a phone call Sunday that she was going to help someone who had plowed her driveway in the past. When the boyfriend did not hear back from her later that night, he found her vehicle and alerted police.
A business card that said “Good News Prue Snow Plowing and Towing Service Call For Free Estimate” was found in Jenkins’ vehicle, documents stated.
Detectives said they traced the call for help Jenkins received to a prepaid cell phone that was purchased by someone with Patricia Prue’s date of birth, and surveillance video showed Patricia and Allen Prue purchasing the cell phone at a Walmart in Littleton, N.H.
Prue told police he wanted to “get a girl” on Sunday night, and after he was confronted with evidence, confessed to the murder, documents stated.
The documents depict a grisly scenario, stating that Prue told police he began to strangle Jenkins after she got out of her car to help him, and that Patricia Prue jumped in and assisted in the strangulation.
“Allen Prue advised that she stopped moving and he put her in the backseat of his vehicle and left. On the drive back to their house, Patricia Prue choked her in the vehicle again to ensure she wasn’t breathing,” the documents stated.
They left Jenkins’ son in his mother’s SUV with the engine running.
Once the couple were back at their home on Old County Road, they allegedly stripped Jenkins, laid her body on a tarp, and doused her with bleach.
The Prues stuffed her body in the car and drove to a boat launch on the Connecticut River where they weighed her naked body down with cinder blocks before dumping it into the water and covering it with branches, court papers say.
Jenkins’ body was found on Monday by police.
News of the arrests were welcomed in the tight-knit town of 8,000, which had been on edge since the popular teacher was murdered.
St. Johnsbury Academy, a private school where Jenkins taught science and coached freshman girls’ basketball, will host a memorial service for her on Friday in the gymnasium.
Students and staff will be encouraged to break dress code and wear pink, a color the school said Jenkins wore often, to celebrate her life and raise money for the Melissa Jenkins Memorial Fund.
Copright 2012 ABC News Radio
Julia Horowitz, CNN
Stephanie Elam, CNN
AJ Willingham, CNN
Eliza Mackintosh, CNN