May 22—SOUTH WINDSOR — Police narrowed in on the husband of Jessica Edwards, whose body was discovered Friday in East Hartford after being missing for almost two weeks, as a possible suspect in her disappearance pretty early on, according to Sgt. Mark Cleverdon.
The husband, Tahj Hutchinson, 22, of South Windsor, was charged with first-degree manslaughter late Friday evening. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bond and will be arraigned Monday.
"Early on, there were suspicions that Mr. Hutchinson had some involvement or that his statements weren't truthful. So it certainly didn't take us long to kind of head in that direction," Cleverdon said Saturday. "This is kind of cliche, but you always look toward the husband and the person that last saw the missing person. And that happened to be Mr. Hutchinson based off what we knew."
However, at the same time, the police sergeant said the department still considered other alternatives about what might have happened to Edwards, not wanting to solely focus on Hutchinson in the event the officers might have missed something.
Cleverdon said a murder weapon — if there is one — has not been recovered, and there's not yet a motive.
Police have said it's unclear when Edwards, 30, of South Windsor, who had an 8-month-old son with Hutchinson, disappeared.
Edwards' sister Yanique said she last saw Edwards at 11 p.m. on Mother's Day, May 9.
Several hours later at 2:30 a.m. on Monday, May 10, an email was sent from Edwards' account to her professor, stating she wouldn't be in class that day at Hartford Hospital, An email was sent around 2:30 a.m. Monday, May 10, from Jessica's account to her professor saying she wouldn't be in the class that day at Hartford Hospital, where she was a clinical training student in respiratory care.
Hutchinson later told police that the last time he saw Jessica was between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. that morning when she left with an unknown person in a vehicle. He reported her missing later that day.
Cleverdon said it was ultimately Hutchinson's cooperation with investigators, which included speaking with detectives and consenting to searches, that allowed police to tie him to his wife's death.
However, as police narrowed in on Hutchinson as a suspect, Cleverdon said investigators didn't want to reveal too much to the public.
"Our goal was not to essentially tip our hand when it came to what we knew about him and what we knew about his actions leading up to Jessica's disappearance. We felt it was in the best interest of the case to make sure that that wasn't out in the public because we didn't want him to get spooked or to stop talking to us or to do something else," Cleverdon said.
Additional charges may be filed upon completion of the investigation and the results of the autopsy by the chief state medical examiner's office.
Cleverdon added he believes Hutchinson's actions constitute a murder charge rather than manslaughter but said that decision falls to the State's Attorney's Office based on what the prosecutors can prove in court and secure a conviction.
For news around JI Land, follow Jessica Lerner on Twitter: @JessLerner.