BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in Boulder are asking for help in locating the rest of the remains of Ashley Mead, a young mother believed to be dead who was last seen on Sunday.
Mead, 25, was reported missing along with her 1-year-old daughter on Tuesday after she didn’t show up for work. The pair hadn’t been seen since Sunday.
The girl, Winter Daisy, was found with her father, Adam Densmore, outside Tulsa, Oklahoma on Wednesday.
Now investigators believe that Mead was killed in Boulder and her body at least partially dismembered just outside of Shreveport, Louisiana.
There are concerns that some of Mead’s body parts may have been discarded in a variety of towns that Densmore passed through.
“I think the possibilities are only limited by your imagination,” said Okmulgee Police Chief Joe Prentice.
Investigators have tentatively identified remains found inside a dumpster in Okmulgee, Oklahoma on Thursday as Mead, based on observations made during the autopsy. The remains were found in a suitcase and included the torso of an adult white female.
Police say the body had been dismembered and was missing several parts including the head, arms and legs. According to the arrest affidavit, the torso had a large incision and it appeared that all or some of the organs had been removed.
Densmore was arrested on charges of first-degree murder. He remains in custody and waived extradition to Colorado. Police believe Densmore will be extradited to Boulder in the coming days.
A friend of Mead’s told CBS4 that she was a caring, vibrant young woman and that her daughter was the center of her world.
“It’s just really heartbreaking to know she’s just gone and she’s never going to see Winter grow up,” said Mead’s friend Laura Hennessy. “I just don’t know what kind of person could do that to somebody else.”
Friends of Mead’s from where she grew up in Pennsylvania told CBS4’s Lauren DiSpirito Mead and Densmore recently had taken a paternity test, which confirmed Densmore is Winter Daisy’s father. There was some question. They got the results back just a few days before Mead and Winter Daisy went missing.
The child was unharmed and placed in temporary care of child protective services in Oklahoma. Authorities say she will soon be reunited with Mead’s family.
Densmore’s exact travel route between Sunday and Wednesday remains under investigation.
“We believe he left Boulder then traveled south to Colorado Springs and Pueblo then once he hit New Mexico, he shot south and east through the Texas Panhandle and then to Louisiana,” said Boulder Police Department spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly.
Detectives believe that Densmore left Boulder on Sunday evening and traveled south to Raton, N.M. He then continued south and east through the Texas Panhandle before arriving in Haughton, Louisiana on Monday evening. The next day he drove to Conway, Arkansas where he spent the night.
Then investigators believe Densmore left Conway, Arkansas and stopped in Okmulgee, Okla. before he was located and arrested just west of Tulsa about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Police believe that a portion of Mead’s body could be in a purple Reba brand suitcase. If anyone sees a suitcase in an odd location, they are asked not to touch it and contact police immediately.
Police believe the remains must be in at least one suitcase that matches that set.
Mead and Densmore moved to Colorado before their daughter was born. Densmore wanted to attend culinary school. He had previously served in the military.
Even though they were no longer dating, friends never feared that Mead could be in danger.
“She never spoke of anything that was off or wrong, so we didn’t think anything of it,” said Hennessy. “I want her back and we can just lay her to rest and we can give her the proper burial she deserves because she doesn’t deserve to be just thrown away like trash.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Winter’s college fund.
Additional Information about a Community Gathering and Celebration of Ashleixgh Mead’s Life hosted by Boulder Playdates
Sunday, February 26 at 2:30 PM
Boulder Public Library
1001 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, Colorado 80302
Come to celebrate the life of Ashleixgh Mead at a place close to her heart. We will invite the community to share loving thoughts, memories, and wishes for this beautiful woman. Please wear bright colors, tie dye, or other uplifted clothing in memory of this sweet friend. Children are, of course, welcome.