After a 20-year-old York County woman overdosed and died at a Hampton party on Feb. 21, court documents say three men loaded her into the trunk of her car and dumped her about half a mile away.
Marina Turner’s body was found four days later near a small waterway in Old Wythe — concealed behind a large bush at the end of a dead end street.
In early March, Hampton police took out warrants charging Jamarus Emanuel “Jay” Granger with “concealment of a dead body.” Court documents say that Granger, 37, of Hampton, hosted the party and appeared to be the leader of the three men who loaded Turner’s body into the trunk.
Granger was arrested Friday night at a mobile home park in Newport News.
The investigation began Feb. 22, when Turner’s mother, Tamra Sessa, called the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office to report her daughter missing. She told investigators that she last spoke with Turner a couple days earlier, when her daughter told her she was going to Hampton to “retrieve her car,” a 2003 Cadillac CTS.
A criminal complaint affidavit filed in Hampton General District Court this week said that as investigators looked into Turner’s disappearance, a Newport News police detective got a tip that “there had been a party in Hampton and that Ms. Turner overdosed and had died” — and that Granger was driving Turner’s white Cadillac.
Hampton police Det. Steve Rodey wrote in the affidavit that he learned that the party had been at the Colonial Landing Apartments, on Kecoughtan Road in Wythe, and that he was able to watch security video from the complex.
He said it showed Turner driving into the complex about 5:45 p.m. on Feb. 20, with she and Granger walking into an apartment together.
But Turner never walked out.
At 1:36 a.m., Rodey wrote, Granger walked out of his apartment talking on his cell phone and “pacing back and forth.” Then he got into Turner’s Cadillac and parked it closer to the building — with the trunk facing the apartment door.
Granger then went back into the building and came out with two others. “He is assisted by two other (men) in carrying a large bundle of blankets which appear to be heavy,” Rodey wrote. They were “struggling with it as they walked towards the opened trunk of the victim’s car,” he added.
“While (Granger) and the others were placing the bundle in the trunk, I was able to observe one of the subjects gripping a pair of feet clothed in black stockings, protruding from the blanket,” Rodey wrote, saying he was “able to then observe that there was a body wrapped in the blankets.”
Granger and one of those two men, as well as a woman, then got into Turner’s Cadillac and drove out of the parking lot, Rodey wrote. The woman was carrying the shoulder bag that Turner was holding when she arrived at the apartment, the detective added.
Traffic cameras on Kecoughtan Road captured the Cadillac driving east, then turning south on Powhatan Parkway.
Four days later, on Feb. 25, a mail carrier found the body at the end of Secota Drive.
Turner was found “partially wrapped in blankets” that matched those Rodey said he saw on the video. “The victim was also wearing long black stockings as observed on the video,” the detective added, saying the body was identified Marina Turner’s.
The State Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet officially ruled on a cause and manner of Turner’s death.
Granger is being held without bond at the Newport News City Jail, but had a remote hearing Tuesday with a Hampton judge and is scheduled to be in Hampton Friday. Granger’s attorney, Ben Pavek with the Hampton Public Defender’s Office, declined to comment Tuesday.
No other arrests have been made.
Virginia law says that concealing a dead body — including to “prevent detection of an unlawful act” or to “prevent the detection of the death” — is a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. The law has protections in place, however, for those who report drug overdoses.
Granger has another felony charge pending against him, a drug possession case that’s scheduled to go to trial Thursday in Newport News Circuit Court.
Peter Dujardin, 757-247-4749, firstname.lastname@example.org