A Williamsport, Pennsylvania man is in custody after a body was found in the trash on Tuesday.
According a Facebook post by the Williamsport Sun Gazette, 34-year-old Hasan Gooden-Reid is accused of fatally stabbing his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kristina Pope and stashing her lifeless body for weeks before trying to dispose of the body. Found in a trash three weeks later, Pope’s jawbone was what led to Gooden-Reid’s arrest.
Pope and Gooden-Reid had been in a relationship for about a year. Gooden-Reid lived in the second-floor apartment of Michael Ross Homes housing project, operated by the Lycoming County Housing Authority. Williamsport Police said the couple had an intense fight on July 7, and Gooden-Reid stabbed Pope in his living room.
Gooden-Reid didn’t immediately dispose of the body. Found perhaps unsure of what to do with it, he placed it on his bed and then changed the body’s clothes the next day. He told police he disposed of his clothes and the victim’s blood soaked clothes in the trash, which were collected by the garbage collectors.
He then wrapped the body in a blanket and put it in a closet in the apartment. He claims he took the blood soaked mattress and box springs and put them out beside the dumpster, where they were also collected without incident.
Three weeks later, and lately with a lot of summer heat, the accused man said the Williamsport Housing Authority officials showed up at his door on Monday because of a complaint of a bad odor, according to WILQ.
Other complaints of “numerous flies” were also reported, according to the Sun Gazette.
The tenant told officials the bad smell was from “wet and moldy clothes…related to a broken toilet from three weeks ago,” according to statements in an affidavit. He was told he’d have to vacate the apartment so it could be fumigated the next day.
Gooden-Reid decided to dispose of Pope’s body on Tuesday morning around 4 a.m. He attempted to put it in a galvanized trash can.
When employees of the housing authority arrived on Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., they believed the bad smell was worse and thought it smelled like “decomposing meat.”
Agent Raymond O. Kontz III said in the affidavit the body found in trash had done “substantial damage…to the apartment’s walls and floor due to the decomposing body.”
While an employee was getting rid of additional items from the apartment, what looked like a human jawbone was discovered. A dead body, found in trash, was reported to the police. Police arrived on scene and officers guarded a perimeter marked with yellow police tape.
An experienced cop told a reporter the scene was gruesome.
“It was just a horrific scene. You had bugs flying around, maggots, and a body in various stages of decomposition.”
A team of expert forensic anthropologists arrived from Mercyhurst University Department of Applied Forensic Sciences in Erie, Pennsylvania, lead by Dr. Dennis C. Dirkmaat.
Dirkmaat was part of the investigative team which helped identify victims in the September 11 attack at the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. He’s also been a part of forensic anthropological work for the FBI and over 300 other cases.
The team worked for four hours to process the scene and confirmed the jawbone found in the trash was human.
Gooden-Reid was taken into custody for questioning around 10 a.m. on Tuesday. He was arraigned before District Judge Allen P. Page III on several charges, including homicide and abuse of a corpse. He was committed to the Lycoming County Prison without bail.
Pope, the body found in trash, was never reported missing by anyone. Although a resident of Williamsport, she had lost ties with her family and had no job, according to city police.
[Photos by Williamsport Sun Gazette/Philip A. Holmes]