A 22-year-old pregnant woman has been found decapitated, just weeks before her family were set to surprise her with a baby shower.
Liese Dodd, who was eight months pregnant with her first child, was discovered by her mother in her apartment in Alton, Illinois, on Thursday.
Her decapitated head was found in a dumpster outside the building in a murder police have described as ‘abominable’.
Dodd’s ex-boyfriend Deundrea Holloway, 22, has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of the expectant mother and her unborn baby girl.
Dodd, who fondly called her unborn child ‘my little bean’, has been described by her family as a ‘bright light that cared for everyone’.
Her mother, Heidi Noel, said the family were planning a baby shower for Dodd for the end of this month – and were gathering gifts together ahead of the birth in late July.
Noel, who is now instead planning a funeral for her daughter and granddaughter, said she had sent out the invitations and the family were gathering gifts together.
She said Holloway was not the father of the baby, but the pair had been in an on-and-off relationship for two years.
‘We were planning her baby shower for the end of this month,’ Noel told KMOV. ‘I had just sent out invitations the prior Saturday for the baby shower. We were just excited and gathering the items you need to have a baby.
‘She wasn’t set on a name yet. [She] said “my little bean”. So, we essentially were calling the baby “baby bean”.’
Noel is now planning to hold a ‘celebration of life’ for her daughter and grandchild after finding Dodd’s decapitated body.
‘It’s not something I wish on anybody. So, yeah, I’d rather not speak on that,’ she said.
The suspect has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of intentional homicide to an unborn child, dismembering a human body, offenses relating to motor vehicles, and concealment of a homicide death.
Holloway is being held in jail on a $2,000,000 bond.
Liese Dodd, who was eight months pregnant with her first child, was discovered by her mother in her apartment in Alton, Illinois, on Thursday
Dodd grew up and went to school in Jerseyville, Illinois, and had just recently moved into a home in Alton.
Noel said that because of the ‘nature’ of Dodd’s relationship with Holloway, she would contact her daughter every day to check-in. But when she hadn’t responded for a while, she decided to check on her.
A neighbor told local news outlet 5 On Your Side that Noel ‘looked so broken’ after discovering her daughter’s body.
‘She turned around, she looked at us, me and my boyfriend were standing in the doorway and she said, “He [expletive] killed her”,’ the neighbor said.
April Wooten, Dodd’s next-door neighbor, said: ‘I have a 3-year-old daughter, and I could not imagine, anybody putting their hands on her in any type of way, or having to find my daughter like that.
‘I’m praying for her mom and her family as well, hoping one day they can get some type of peace.’
Noel said that knowing that Holloway had been charged had given her some relief.
‘I’m glad that he’s off the streets, and that is my big hope is that he’s no longer able to do this to anyone else,’ she said.
Noel, paying tribute to her daughter, said she had a ‘beautiful smile’.
‘She was just a bright light that cared for everyone,’ Noel continued. ‘She had a big heart. She’d do anything for anyone. She’d go out of her way to help people.’
Alton Police Chief Marcos Pulido said in an emotional video that the murder of Dodd is ‘abominable’, adding that she was ‘decapitated by a freaking savage monster’.
He added: ‘This daughter, this mother to be, and her family, were in the planning stages of a baby shower that was supposed to be at the end of June.
‘Instead now the family is planning a funeral because of what a monster did. Irreprehensible. What a savage monster did to her.
‘Her mother had to go through something that nobody should ever have to go through. First of all no parent should ever have to bury their child.
‘But her mother had not heard from her in a little bit and wanted to go check on her to see if she was ok and found her in a way that you can’t imagine.’
The suspect was transferred to the Macoupin County Jail where he was later identified as wanted for questioning by the Alton Police Department.
Madison County State Attorney Thomas Haine said: ‘We believe the evidence will show that the defendant’s gruesome actions here killed both a young woman and the child she carried in her womb.
‘In the eyes of the law, both these killings are equal and he will now face justice for both.’
Neighbors told KMOV that they are praying for Dodd’s family.
Some of Noel’s classmates are planning a display to commemorate her daughter.
‘I truly appreciate the support, and I just wish she would’ve known how loved she was,’ said Noel. ‘That she wouldn’t have ever been alone, [and] that she could’ve gotten out of this relationship and had a full life.’