Police are trying to determine whether a body in Texas is that of North Carolina mom Laura Ackerson, and two people – the woman's former boyfriend and his new wife – have been arrested and charged in connection with her murder.
Ackerson's ex-boyfriend Grant Ruffin Hayes and his wife, Amanda Perry Hayes, were taken into custody at 1 a.m. today in Kinston, N.C., and "charged with murder in connection with the death of Laura Jean Ackerson," according to a statement from police.
A body was found in a Fort Bend County, Texas, creek, but police said they had not yet confirmed that it was Ackerson's remains.
"We're neither confirming nor debunking that information," said Jim Sughrue of the Raleigh Police Department today.
Police in Fort Bend County said that dive teams are currently searching the creek area.
Ackerson, 27, was last heard from on July 13 and was believed to have been in Wilson, N.C., on business. She was reported missing by a co-worker on July 18 after she failed to show up to work.
Sheri Ackerson, a friend and former sister-in-law to Laura Ackerson, told ABCNews.com that Hayes and the missing mother had a tumultuous relationship that spanned several years and that they had become embroiled in a bitter custody dispute over their two children.
Missing Mom's Ex-Boyfriend and Wife Charged With Her Murder
Hayes wanted Laura Ackerson to give up custody of the children so his wife could adopt them, Sheri Ackerson said.
"All I know is that he was horrible to her," said Sheri Ackerson, who was once close friends with the missing woman and lived with her for about a year.
The fomer sister-in-law said Laura Ackerson had called her crying about a year ago, saying that she was trying to fight for her children, but seemed to be running out of options.
"It was probably about a year ago when she contacted me. That was the last time I heard from her. She said 'I have a hearing. Will you please come out here tomorrow? I need you as a character witness,'" said Sheri Ackerson, who couldn't make it to the hearing at the time. "I just feel horrible I wasn't able to do that."
Hayes and Laura Ackerson were never married, but had two children together. She served as his production manager for a time as he pursued a singing career, would book him gigs and worked to promote him.
But when Hayes began to travel to the Virgin Islands to land gigs, Sheri Ackerson said he found a new girlfriend, which devastated Laura Ackerson who had given birth to their first son by that time.
"He told her 'I don't want this anymore. I want to live there. Give up rights to our son so my girlfriend can adopt him,'" said her former sister-in-law.
Laura Ackerson refused to surrender custody, but reconciled with Hayes and moved to the Virgin Islands where she became pregnant with their second child. Sheri Ackerson said the young mother didn't tell anyone where she was going at the time.
"She cut off ties with all of her friends and family and we were all concerned for her back then. We all thought something had happened then," she said.
Sheri Ackerson said that even before Hayes and his wife were charged with murder she never believed that Laura Ackerson would run off and leave her children and wouldn't have done anything to jeopardize her upcoming custody hearing.
"She was very bright, but she made a poor choice. Grant was a very poor choice," Sheri Ackerson said.