Nevada officials identified the body of a Bethel Park woman who has been missing since September.
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee confirmed that the body his department discovered on Oct. 5 is 33-year-old Jaime Rae Feden. Lee said they were able to identify the body through dental records.
Feden’s friends and family reported her missing Nov. 14. She was last seen Sept. 15.
John Matthew Chapman, 39, Feden’s boyfriend, confessed to Bethel Park police that he drove Feden to Nevada and killed her, according to court documents.
According to the criminal complaint, Chapman told Feden that they were taking a vacation to Las Vegas. On Sept. 25, he drove her into the desert, where he bound her hands and feet to a signpost with plastic zip ties, and put duct tape over her mouth and nose, police said.
Feden suffocated, and Chapman left her in the desert after removing the zip ties and duct tape, police said. Lee said Feden was left about 50 yards off a road near Route 93, and that there was no attempt to hide her remains.
“If you were actually looking that direction, you could almost see the body from the road,” Lee said. “Thank heavens somebody decided to stop where they stopped.”
When it came to identifying Feden, Lee’s department was at a loss until they were contacted by Bethel Park police. Lee said the description of Feden lined up with the woman they had been calling Jane Doe.
Feden was only 4 feet 1 inch tall and 75 pounds, a result of her having VATER Syndrome, a series of birth defects that can affect the vertebrae and esophagus.
“Of course before dental was completed, I felt pretty confident it was Jamie ... She’s very tiny, very petite,” Lee said. “We were able to identify some back, spinal surgery that she had. We were able to match some unique tattooed names that were on her.”
Feden’s family told police that she had a “tumultuous past with Chapman.”
When Chapman returned to the Bethel Park area, he allegedly used Feden’s Facebook account to message one of her relatives. Chapman posed as Feden and gave the relative a phone number, saying it was her new number, according to the criminal complaint. The number, according to police, was fake. Chapman had used an app to mask his own phone number.
Chapman currently faces charges of kidnapping, criminal use of a communication facility and obstruction of justice in Allegheny County.
Lee said after Thanksgiving, he will send investigators to Pennsylvania to conduct interviews as part of their homicide investigation. If homicide charges are filed against Chapman, he likely will be extradited to Nevada.
Lee also commended the work of Bethel Park police.
“Amazing job by law enforcement out in Pennsylvania. They are the champions in this thing,” Lee said. “They worked with us every day. Great, great, great job those guys did.”