RALEIGH — Kinston resident and day care worker Laura Jean Ackerson, 27, had been battling her former boyfriend and father of her two children, Grant Hayes, 32, for more than a year when he — along with his wife Amanda Hayes, 39 — allegedly took her life and dismembered her body.
The two are accused of placing Ackerson’s remains in an ice chest for transport from North Carolina to Texas, before dumping the body parts near his wife’s sister’s home in Houston, Texas, approximately 100 yards from nearby Oyster Creek.
Laura Ackerson went missing on July 13, but was not reported as missing until July 15, according to Fox News.
Grant Hayes, the accused in the crime, is a musician who goes by the name of Grant Haze and was in custody of his and Ackerson’s two male children — Grant R. Haze IV, aged 3, and Gentle Haze, who will turn 2 years old next week — at the time of Ackerson’s disappearance.
Ackerson was said to be en route to pick up the children for visitation when she went missing. Grant said she never made it to his and Amanda’s house in Raleigh.
Hayes and Ackerson’s contentious legal battles over custody of the boys is said to have spanned several years and to be a potential motive for her murder, with Grant enjoying week-long custody and Ackerson being relegated to weekend only time with both children.
The two had sparred repeatedly over custody, with each blackening the other repeatedly in legal paperwork until Ackerson acquiesced to weekend only visits. But church friends say Ackerson was attempting to seek greater time with her sons, but she was doing it peacefully.
According to police, Grant Hayes has an additional child, this one with wife Amanda Hayes, and all three children were taken into custody upon Grant and Amanda’s arrest for allegedly murdering Ackerson. Family members are now in posession of all three children.
Police say Laura Ackerson’s head was found first, on Monday in Texas, more than 1,000 miles from where her vehicle was found in Raleigh, North Carolina, prompting law enforcement to scour the creek for additional body parts. As much as 60 percent of the dismembered mother’s remains had been located as of Wednesday as a result, and dental records assisted with identification confirmation this week.
Ackerson’s 2006 Ford Focus was found abandoned in Raleigh, at an apartment complex near where she was supposed to meet Hayes to pick up the children for her visit. Police in North Carolina’s Wake County arrested the couple on Monday and charged them with her murder as law enforcement in Texas began locating her remains near Hayes’ wife Amanda’s sister’s home.
Amanda Hayes’ sister was not implicated in the crime, despite police confiscating several items alleged to have been used in the commission of the crime on the premises, including a machete and several coolers — all of which were cleaned by Amanda Hayes’ family during the visit, according to police — and a jonboat, believed to have been used to move Laura Ackerson’s dismembered remains from the home to the creek, just yards away.
Grant and Amanda Hayes are currently incarcerated at the Wake County Jail in North Carolina, where they will remain without bail until their next scheduled court appearance on Aug. 16, according to the News Observer. To read about the last people to see Laura Jean Ackerson alive, click here.
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