The thousands of volunteers who lined up to search for Jessie Davis, a 26-year-old pregnant woman who disappeared from her Ohio home in June, were shocked when the father of her toddler son, Blake, eventually helped guide police to Davis' body.
Today, Bobby Cutts Jr., the presumed father of her unborn child, learned that prosecutors may push for the death penalty when he goes on trial for murder.
Nine days after Davis' mother, Patricia Porter, found Blake alone in Davis' ransacked North Canton, Ohio, home, authorities discovered the missing woman's body 25 miles away in a shallow grave in a remote parkland. Davis was more than eight months pregnant when she disappeared.
Cutts, a Canton police officer, was arrested the same day, June 23.
This morning, prosecutors in Stark County, Ohio, announced that a grand jury had returned an indictment, charging Cutts with three counts of aggravated murder.
Cutts, 30, was charged with murdering Davis and her unborn fetus, who has come to be known as "Baby Chloe." Cutts was also indicted on charges of aggravated burglary, child endangerment and two counts of gross abuse of a corpse.
If convicted, Cutts may face the death penalty.
Asked whether he would pursue capital punishment, Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero said, "That's a potential penalty Mr. Cutts could face."
Accomplice Also Indicted
Cutts' high school classmate Myisha Ferrell, 29, was also indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and abuse of a corpse. Authorities say Ferrell helped Cutts get rid of Davis' body and lied to police about her involvement.
At the news conference, prosecutors said little about the relationship between Cutts and Ferrell, whom the Davis family has said it didn't know.
"They were friends and somewhere she got involved," Ferrero said. "We'll talk about that in the trial."
Cutts' attorney Myron Watson was unavailable for comment.
How Did Jessie Die?
Many details of the case remain unanswered — including how Davis was killed, what Cutts' alleged motive was and exactly how the body was disposed.
Police say Davis was killed inside her North Canton home June 14. Porter reported her missing after finding Blake alone, his diapers soiled, inside her daughter's home. Bleach had been spilled on the floor of one of the rooms and Blake eerily told his grandmother, "Mommy's in the rug."
It's a comment that the boy could be heard saying in the background of interviews during the early days of what grew into a massive ground search for his mother. Porter has since said that she will forgive the man who prosecutors say killed her daughter.
The Summit County, Ohio, medical examiner said earlier this month that she was unable to determine exactly how Davis had been killed, except to say that she was the victim of a homicide.
Cutts has been held on $5 million bond since his June 23 arrest. The former police officer is being held outside the general prison population, prosecutors said this morning.
Both Cutts and Ferrell will be arraigned on the charges Friday and a pretrial hearing is set for Monday.