Samantha Greenlee, a 22-year-old pregnant woman from Columbus, Ohio, has been missing since October 8 after disappearing following a waitressing shift. Her boyfriend Jacob Ferrero, 22, was arrested this morning and has been charged with murder and aggravated arson.
Police say Greenlee was beaten with a baseball bat and strangled. Ferrero, the father of her unborn child, confessed to investigators that he had killed Greenlee and led officers to a shallow grave next to a church. A cousin said Greenlee was three months pregnant with her boyfriend of five months but explained that they fought frequently.
Investigators have recovered Greenlee’s body. Her body was found in a shallow grave next to the Madison Christian Church, the Columbuys newspaper reported. Detectives believe that Ferrero killed his pregnant girlfriend on October 8 at their apartment and then buried her two days later.
Pregnant women are often targets of violence by husbands or boyfriends who are not wanting to become a father and have failedin their efforts to force or pressure their partners to have an abortion. As a result of the tide of violence against pregnant women and their unborn children, 39 states have enacted laws providing justice for both mother and unborn children when they are victims of violence.
In Ohio, at any stage of pre-natal development, if an “unborn member of the species homo sapiens, who is or was carried in the womb of another” is killed, it is aggravated murder, murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, aggravated vehicular homicide, and vehicular homicide depending on the circumstances of the crime.
Detectives said he killed Greenlee on Oct. 8 at their apartment near Norton Road and Sullivant Avenue and buried her two days later, on the same day that the couple’s apartment burned.
Ferrero originally told police that a dog had kicked over a candle and started the blaze, which heavily damaged their apartment and several others.
Greenlee’s mother reported her missing on Oct. 14, saying no one had seen her since Oct. 8 but her car was still parked at the apartment complex.
Officers questioned Ferrero repeatedly in the following days. He once left town unexpectedly but returned and began to confess his involvement in the arson and homicide late last night, police said.
He said he chose the burial site at random, although police said he had worked in a warehouse in the same area.
Estellia Sheridan, a cousin of Greenlee, said Greenlee graduated from Westland High School and had worked as a server at several restaurants. She said Greenlee and Ferrero had been dating for about five months and had been living together.