Vermont police on Wednesday charged a couple with second degree murder in the death of teacher Melissa Jenkins, and court documents allege they pretended to have car trouble to lure her to a site where she was strangled.
Allen Prue, 30, and his wife Patricia, 33, wanted to "get a girl" on Sunday night, although he and his wife "didn't plan to get one forcefully," according to court documents. Police gave no further details on a possible motive.
The two were taken into custody Tuesday night, The Caledonian-Record News reported. They were arraigned in court Wednesday morning where they pleaded not guilty. They are being held without bail.
Patricia Prue allegedly called Jenkins on Sunday night and told her they needed help because their car had broken down.
When Jenkins arrived, Allen Prue allegedly strangled her, and he and his wife then put the body in the backseat of their car and drove to their home. At some point Patricia Prue strangled Jenkins as well to "ensure she wasn’t breathing," Allen Prue allegedly told police. But Patricia Prue denied any knowledge of Jenkins' death.
Back at their home, they allegedly put Jenkins' body on a tarp, removed all her clothes and poured bleach on her body. The Prues also allegedly removed their clothes and put them on the tarp.
They then drove to a boat access at the Connecticut River, which separates Vermont from New Hampshire, and put Jenkins' body in the water, weighing it down with blocks and concealing it with brush, the documents state.
They allegedly took the tarp and the clothes to New Hampshire where they burned it.
Police were called Sunday night after Jenkins' son was found alone in her vehicle on a back road in St. Johnsbury.
Jenkins' former boyfriend told police she said that she had gotten a call from a person who used to plow her driveway and that she was going to help them, the documents say.
The ex-boyfriend told police that Allen Prue had once asked Jenkins out on a date, and that she felt uncomfortable around him.
The body of Jenkins, a 33-year-old single mother of a two-year-old boy, was found in the woods on Monday by a state trooper.
Allen Prue is a snow plow driver and a sub-contracted newspaper delivery person for The Caledonian-Record since January, the newspaper said.
Police said they searched the Prue's home in Waterford Tuesday night. No alleged motive was provided, but Vermont State Police said in a statement that "they knew Ms. Jenkins and had snow plowed her driveway a couple of years ago."
Jenkins taught science and used to coach basketball at the prestigious St. Johnsbury Academy, which counts former President Calvin Coolidge among its alumni.
"She's got a real gift with students who either haven't liked science before or learning science doesn't come easy to them," headmaster Tom Lovett said. "She's got a real gift with them."
Vermont State Police
Allen Prue and Patricia Prue are seen in booking photos.
Dozens of students gathered at the academy Monday night after the news that a body had been found. Classes were canceled Tuesday.
Jenkins grew up in Danville, a tight-knit town west of St. Johnsbury where she attended the Danville School.
A family friend said Jenkins left her home Sunday night to meet up and help someone out.
"She would do anything for anybody. She definitely will be greatly missed," said Ron Craig, of Peacham.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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