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Crime

Falls police discover body in trunk

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Niagara Falls Police arrested a Youngstown, Ohio man early Wednesday night after discovering a female’s body in the trunk of his vehicle.  Police said they found the vehicle near Tony Roma's Restaurant on Buffalo Avenue around 6 p.m. About an hour later the suspect, identified as 37-year-old JeShawn Elliott, was taken into custody at the intersection of Niagara and First Streets. 

City police held a news briefing with reporters Thursday morning from police headquarters in Niagara Falls. They described that Elliott displaying bizarre behavior and approached a person to borrow a cell phone, then called his brother. Police believe that is how they were notified of his whereabouts. 

Falls police are working with the Youngstown, Ohio Police Department. Investigators said they can confirm the victim was alive at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, but it is unclear where she was murdered.

When Falls police caught up with the suspect he was on a bike police said he rented not far from where they found the vehicle.   

The suspect then lunged at one of the officers with a folding knife. Officers used a Taser, causing Elliott to fall to the ground.  He was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center to be checked out after being Tasered and he also had a laceration to his hand that police believe he caused by the knife he held. He was then taken to police headquarters where he was booked on attempted assault of an officer with a deadly weapon and menacing. However, the suspect has not been charged in the death of the woman at this time. 

Elliott appeared in a Niagara Falls courtroom Thursday morning where he entered a not guilty plea.     

An investigation into the murder is underway along with the Niagara County District Attorney’s office.  Elliott will remain in custody as authorities work to piece together a time-line of what occurred.

The woman’s identity has not been confirmed. An autopsy is underway. Police reported she had several lacerations and stab wounds of various degrees of severity.  A large knife was recovered from the suspect’s vehicle as well as the knife he used with officers.

Falls authorities said there was word the suspect was intending to commit suicide over the Falls, but that has not been confirmed. 

Falls Police Lt. John Contie said they “really can’t say why” Elliott came to the city of Niagara Falls.

“We don’t’ know for sure that a crime was committed in Youngstown, Ohio as of yet,” remarked Contie.   

Elliott is being held on $200,000 bail.