Gruesome details are emerging about what is now confirmed as a murder-suicide at a house in South Nashville.
Investigators say a man took his own life, but they believe he first killed his girlfriend then attempted to hide her body at the home in the 900 block of Ilawood Drive.
Police said 45-year-old Jesse Meece was found dead at the home Monday afternoon as officers made a welfare check after his employer said he had not been to work since Oct. 30.
Meece apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot, police said.
Police had actually responded to the same home on Oct. 29 after Meece’s girlfriend, 45-year-old Beth Straub, had not reported to work for several days prior.
Officers then spoke with Meece, who said Straub had left the home after an argument, and officers did not find anything suspicious as they checked the home with Meece’s permission.
When police returned to the home Monday to find Meece’s body, they also saw evidence of construction in the basement, including what they described as a makeshift wall that appeared to have been recently installed.
Behind the wall, police found a 96-gallon trash can with a woman’s body inside. The woman’s identity has not been confirmed by the medical examiner, but police said they presume it to be that of Straub.
The trash can was connected by a PVC pipe running to the house’s sewer system, and the trash can’s lid had been sealed with plexiglass and foam sealant.
Police said it appears the woman had been dead for several days. As part of the investigation, they found a receipt dated Oct. 27 for the sealant and 100 pounds of livestock stall deodorizer in the home.
Police believe Straub was killed sometime between October 27 and October 29. Meece then modified the trash can to ensure the smell of a decomposing body would not be detected.
SOMERSET, Ky. (WKYT) – Police in Tennessee are now saying that 45 year old Beth Straub was beaten to death before she was stuffed and sealed in a 96-gallon trash can fitted with PVC Pipes and filled with livestock deodorizer to hide the apparent odor of a dead body.
November 5, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
South Precinct detectives are investigating a bizarre case of murder-suicide in which the victims, girlfriend and boyfriend, apparently died days apart inside a home at 928 Ilawood Drive in South Nashville.
At 3 p.m. Monday, officers responded to the home to conduct a welfare check at the request of Jesse Meece’s mother after she learned from his employer that he had not been to work since October 30th. All access points to the residence were locked. The landlord was contacted and he responded to the scene with a door key. Using the key, officers entered and found Meece, 45, dead on the couch from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.
During the investigation of Meece’s suicide, officers recalled to detectives that they had responded to the home on October 29th to conduct a welfare check on Meece’s girlfriend, Beth Straub, 45. Straub’s employer called police on the 29th after she failed to report for work on both the 28th and 29th. Straub last worked on October 23rd. She was scheduled for a partial shift on the 24th and to take a vacation day on Friday the 25th. Officers responding to that welfare check call spoke with Meece at the home on the evening of the 29th. Meece told them that Straub left and had not returned following an argument during the prior weekend. He allowed officers to check the inside of the residence. They found no sign of Straub.
During the investigation at the home last night, officers and crime scene experts saw evidence of construction in the basement, including a makeshift wall which appeared to have been recently installed. Removal of the wall revealed a 96-gallon wheeled trash can that was resting on pieces of wood supported by sawhorses. Attached to the trash can was a PVC pipe that had been run into the home’s sewer line. When the lid of the trash can was raised, officers saw a Plexiglas window surrounded by a foam sealant. A receipt dated October 27th for the sealant and 100 pounds of livestock stall deodorizer was found in the home. The victim is thought to have been dead since at least October 27th.
The trash can was taken intact to the Medical Examiner’s Office where it was unsealed this morning. Inside was a woman’s body presumed to be Straub’s (positive identification and the cause of death are pending), along with some of the deodorizer.
The police department’s Domestic Violence Division has no record of any trouble between Meece and Straub. Neither has an arrest history in Nashville.