RICHARDSON, Texas - Investigators found blood and noticed the distinct smell of decaying flesh when they searched a car that belonged to a missing Richardson woman’s boyfriend, according to newly released police documents.
Jason Lowe is currently being held in the Richardson jail for allegedly murdering 27-year-old Jessie Bardwell. Police haven’t found her body but said evidence of foul play is strong enough to warrant a murder charge.
Bardwell went missing sometime between April 29, when surveillance video shows her working out at a gym, and Mother’s Day. Her family in Mississippi filed a missing person’s report because they couldn’t contact her and she didn’t call her mother or step-mother on Mother’s Day, which was very uncharacteristic of her.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Lowe was initially cooperative with investigators. He said Bardwell left the Richardson apartment they shared on May 8 in her 2006 Acura.
Officers searched the apartment and Lowe’s garage but did not find anything suspicious. They noted Lowe’s muddy 2010 Audi but did not look inside of it.
Bardwell’s Acura was later found at a home in Garland. The person living there, Joshua Lucke, told police he bought it from Bardwell and Lowe. He said he picked it up on May 2 but did not see Bardwell at the apartment that day, the affidavit states.
"They seemed like they were very happy, like they were in love and they were just kind of going through things in life," said Lucke, who may have been the last person to see Bardwell before she disappeared. "They were holding hands walking their dogs."
Lucke felt he was doing something good. According to him, Lowe had just lost his job and seemed stressed.
Police again questioned Lowe about his girlfriend’s disappearance. He did not change his story even after being questioned about the car’s new owner, the police document states.
"He gave us information that proved to be false on multiple occasions," said Richardson Police Sgt. Kevin Perlich.
Investigators then searched Lowe’s apartment and garage again. This time they noticed the distinct smell of decaying flesh wafting out of the open windows of his Audi. They found evidence of blood throughout the vehicle, including on the steering wheel, gear shift and driver’s side door handle, according to the affidavit.
There was also a bullet hole in a wall of the garage, a shovel, muddy boots and other evidence of a possible body disposal, police said.
"We believe he's taken steps to conceal the body,” said Perlich. "So exactly where? That's the question."
Lowe is also facing two drug charges after police found cocaine inside his apartment.