Crime

Smell of 'decaying flesh,' bullet hole found in missing Pascagoula woman's home

Jason Lowe
Jason Lowe

Richardson, Texas, police said the smell of “decaying flesh,” as well as a bullet hole, guns and blood were found in the apartment of Jason Lowe, the boyfriend of Jessie Bardwell.

The evidence found was in the affidavit of probable cause from Richardson police in charging Lowe with murder.

It’s been just more than a week since Bardwell, a Pascagoula native, was reported missing from Richardson, a suburb of Dallas. Although her body has not been found, Richardson police officials arrested Lowe on narcotics charges and then on the charge of murder.

Court documents show Lowe has a history of drug arrests, the latest for possession of controlled substance in May 2015.

Charged with murder

Lowe, originally from Jackson, officially was charged with murder Monday. His bond was set at $1 million in Collin County, Texas.

Lowe was arrested after Richardson police said they found evidence that linked him to Bardwell’s disappearance and possible slaying.

According to an affidavit filed in Collin County, Bardwell moved to Texas to live with Lowe in December. Bardwell’s father, Gary Bardwell of Pascagoula, had told police he had not spoken with his daughter in about two weeks. He had filed a missing-person report on her May 9.

When Lowe was contacted about Jessie Bardwell’s disappearance, the affidavit said, he told police she had left their apartment in her gray 2006 Acura MDX on about 8 a.m. May 8. Lowe told police he hadn’t seen her since, and said she did not have her cellphone with her.

On May 9, police said they saw a black 2010 Audi belonging to Lowe pull into the apartment’s garage. The Audi was covered in mud and it was missing its entire front panel, according to the affidavit. Lowe said he had taken Audi “mudding,” or riding in the mud.

When he was next questioned about his girlfriend, police observed fresh cuts on his hand, the affidavit said. Lowe told the officer he received the cuts from his dog, who he had been walking in the mud. The affidavit said the officer said the dog was not muddy.

Police said Lowe agreed to a search of his Audi and Dodge Ram pickup. They found two handguns in a black bag on the floorboard of the truck, which papers showed Lowe had rented. A search on the gun came back clear and Lowe said the pickup had been provided to him by his insurance company.

Acura SUV sold — or not?

On May 11, Richardson police began searching for Jessie Bardwell’s gray SUV. They said a report came back that the vehicle had been spotted at a home in Richardson, and they questioned a person at the home Thursday. The witness told police he had bought the SUV from Lowe on April 19. The witness provided the police with a handwritten bill of sale from Lowe.

The witness said he tried to get additional paperwork on it from Lowe and even went to his home to do so but could not track down Lowe after the sale of the SUV.

The witness said Jessie Bardwell was present April 18 when the deal was made for the SUV’s sale. Video surveillance indicates the last time she used her electronic key at her apartment was April 29.

When police returned Lowe’s apartment to question him Thursday, they found a saucer with a white powder in it. Lowe told police it was coke.

When questioned about the Acura, the affidavit said, Lowe told police his girlfriend was still driving it and that its sale had fallen through.

Evidence of homicide

Police said Lowe agreed to a search of his home and when they entered the downstairs garage, they smelled the “distinct smell of decayed flesh.” A bottle of Febreze was found next to the rear passenger door of his car.

Police said when they opened the Audi’s trunk the smell of decayed flesh become more evident, adding crime-scene technicians determined a fluid that had leaked from the car was blood. Blood was also found in the back corner of the trunk as well as on the gear shift and driver’s door handle.

A bullet hole was found in the rear wall of the garage.

A shovel was found in the garage and muddy boots were found in the Audi. The affidavit said police believed the Audi contained evidence of homicidal activity and body disposal.

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