Shortly before she was reported missing, Alyssiah Wiley, a sophomore at Eastern Connecticut State University, had been talking to her family or friends about breaking up with her controlling and abusive boyfriend, Jermaine Richards, according to court records.
Wiley sent a text message on the night she disappeared to a friend at ESCU saying her relationship with Richards was over and made plans to stop by the friend’s dorm room to share details of the breakup.
“I had to get out that car. I’m walking … be by you soon. I need a drink,” read the last text message from Wiley, who had been with Richards that day and evening. It was sent April 20 at 11:03 p.m.
Wiley, 20, was never heard from again. Her remains were found nearly a month later in a wooded section of Trumbull, just under 2 miles from Richards’ home in Bridgeport, according to a warrant for Richards’ arrest that was made public Monday.
Richards, 30, has been charged with murder and first-degree kidnapping in connection with Wiley’s death. He is in custody with bail set at $1 million and is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Fairfield on Thursday.
Richards told investigators he dropped Wiley off at a Dairy Queen near ECSU’s Willimantic campus around 10:30 p.m. and refused to say much more, the warrant says.
In interviews with police, Wiley’s family and friends described Richards as violent and controlling. A friend of Richards told police that Richards had made threatening remarks about Wiley a few weeks before she disappeared, the warrant says.
Richards, a licensed practical nurse, and Wiley had dated for about four years.
Her sister told investigators she knew of three incidents where Richards was physically abusive towards Wiley. She said Wiley called her for a ride in March after Richards put Wiley in a headlock and pinned her on a bed so she couldn’t breathe, according to the arrest warrant.
Wiley’s sister also told police Richards was so possession he often called Wiley’s family repeatedly when he couldn’t reach Wiley. She thought it was odd not to hear from Richards after Wiley was reported missing, the warrant says.
“Last week she was talking about breaking up with him and she was going to cut back on spending time with him,” the sister told police.
Wiley might have ended the relationship weeks before she disappeared. A friend of Richards’ told police Richards stopped by his house at the end of March or in early April, fuming that Wiley had broken up with him on Facebook and she was cheating on him with a guy from her hometown, West Haven, the warrant said.
“Man, I’m going to get rid of her,” Richards said to his friend, according to the warrant.
When the friend pressed Richards about how he planned to get rid of Wiley, Richards said, “Trust me, I’m a nurse,” the warrant said.
After Wiley was reported missing, the friend asked Richards if he had anything to do with the disappearance. Richards closed his eyes, put his head down and shook his head from side to side, the warrant said.
Wiley also exchanged text messages with a male friend before she disappeared. Police interviewed the friend, who said he and Wiley had a sexual relationship in 2010. Richards called and threatened to beat, shoot and kill him.
The friend told police that he and Wiley planned to get together after he got out of work around 11 p.m. She was supposed to call him, but never did.
Surveillance cameras show Wiley waiting outside her dormitory at 12:38 a.m. on April 20. She is seen getting into Richards’ Nissan Altima.
Police seized four phones from Richards’ car. Records from Richards and Wiley’s cellphones indicate the couple spent the day and evening hours of April 20 together. They spent time at the home Richards shared with his mother on Beardsley Park Terrace in Bridgeport.
Richards’ mother told investigators she spoke with Wiley briefly that afternoon, but had to cut the conversations short because she was late for work. When she returned the following morning Wiley was gone and Richards said they had had a fight.
Richards told his mother Wiley asked to be let out of his car and he dropped her off a couple of blocks away from the ECSU campus. He told Wiley’s family and police the same story.
The student Wiley was supposed to meet the night she disappeared noticed Wiley failed to show up for classes the following Monday and Tuesday. She expressed concern to their ecology professor, who contacted ESCU police.
State police and a rescue team found human remains at the end of Quarry Road in Trumbull on May 17. The limbs had been cut off with a sharp tool. The remains were identified as Wiley’s through DNA analysis, the warrant states.
Using data from Richards’ cellphone, investigators determined that the phone was in the general area where the remains were located the afternoon of April 21, the warrant says. Richards turned himself in to state police on May 18.
By Hilda Munoz, Hartford Courant