Houston police are on the hunt for a man they believe killed and dismembered a missing woman last seen in April.
Chukwuebuka Nwobodo, 28, was charged on Wednesday in connection with the murder of Felicia Johnson, 24, after investigators say he purchased suspicious items and searched various ways to get rid of a body.
Johnson disappeared after leaving a hotel in Houston on April 16, according to police. Detectives with the Houston Police Department say they believe Nwobodo killed Johnson soon after and disposed of her body "within the next few days."
Officers said in a charging document they previously arrested Nwobodo on May 13, but they described him as being at-large in a press release on Thursday.
Nwobodo Purchased Suspicious Items, Made Google Searches
Nwobodo purchased items including a mechanical saw, trash bags, towels, and a flashlight around the time he killed Johnson, 24, police said. Officers said he made a series of suspicious Google searches in the days following the murder. These are some of the searches he allegedly made:
- "does bleach denature blood"
- "Can bleach destroy DNA?"
- "What does bleach do to blood"
- "what does vinegar do to blood"
- "does vinegar destroy blood dna"
- "most forested part of Houston"
- "how to delete your history completely"
On April 28, the suspect allegedly searched:
- "how to be a serial killer
- "how to get away with murder"
- "how to kill without getting caught"
Nwobodo also allegedly searched on May 3 whether police can check phone records of a missing person, or their text messages.
Nwobodo Also Searched for Escorts, Johnson Allegedly Met Him for Prostitution
There was an April 30 search for escorts in Houston, officers said. Police say they found online advertisements with her picture on various adult websites. Police believe that Johnson originally encountered Nwobodo for the purposes of prostitution, and that Nwobodo withdrew a total $500 for the April 16 encounter.
He allegedly ordered an Uber for her and picked her up on the early morning hours of April 16 from The Windchase Hamlet Apartment Homes, where he previously used to live until March 2020.
As the Uber took Johnson to the complex, surveillance video allegedly captured the suspect driving from his South Richmond Avenue residence to his former apartment building. The Uber arrived just minutes after Nwobodo allegedly did, before "an individual matching the description of Felicia Johnson" is seen exiting the Uber and heading toward the entrance, where Nwobodo was parked.
Johnson's Phone Found Covered in Blood, DNA from Nwobodo's Apartment Matched Johnson's
Johnson's worried family members in California reached out to Texas after not hearing from her. Her cellphone was found with blood on it off the roadway in Bear Creek Pioneers Parks near Highway 6 and Clay Road. A member of Texas EquuSearch - a non-profit search and rescue organization - found a purse nearby matching the description of Johnson's purse, officers said.
Cops said they were able to track down Nwobodo in part through investigating the Uber. They described a violent scene at his Richmond Avenue apartment, saying there were apparent blood stains throughout the residence when executing a search warrant on May 13. This included the hallway floor just outside the bathroom, and throughout the bedroom. Testing showed a match to Johnson's DNA profile, authorities said.
Police Found Images of a Deceased, Dismembered Female on Nwobodo's Phone
After the original May 13 arrest, police claimed to find "a photograph of a deceased dismembered female," and three photos of dead people on Nwobodo's phone.
Police claimed to find various suspicious items in Nwobodo's silver Honda Accord with the license plate LLD6670. This included a 9mm handgun, receipts for items he possibly used in the clean up, multiple loose latex gloves, a large kitchen knife, and a shovel. A reagent showed the presence of blood in the vehicle and on the kitchen knife, officers said.
Nwobodo was previously accused of sexual assault in November 2020, police said. A woman claimed he tried to rape her in his vehicle. She got out, and broke free after he chased her down and grabbed her wrist, the woman said in the probable cause affidavit. Police said she later denied there was any violence or sexual assault. She said she did not want to press charges, and she just wanted to go home.