Police describe gruesome scene at south Nashville home - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE

Police describe gruesome scene at south Nashville home

Posted: Updated:
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Gruesome details are emerging about what is now confirmed as a murder-suicide at a house in South Nashville.

Investigators say a man took his own life, but they believe he first killed his girlfriend then attempted to hide her body at the home in the 900 block of Ilawood Drive.

Police said 45-year-old Jesse Meece was found dead at the home Monday afternoon as officers made a welfare check after his employer said he had not been to work since Oct. 30.

Meece apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot, police said.

Police had actually responded to the same home on Oct. 29 after Meece's girlfriend, 45-year-old Beth Straub, had not reported to work for several days prior.

Officers then spoke with Meece, who said Straub had left the home after an argument, and officers did not find anything suspicious as they checked the home with Meece's permission.

When police returned to the home Monday to find Meece's body, they also saw evidence of construction in the basement, including what they described as a makeshift wall that appeared to have been recently installed.

Behind the wall, police found a 96-gallon trash can with a woman's body inside. The woman's identity has not been confirmed by the medical examiner, but police said they presume it to be that of Straub.

The trash can was connected by a PVC pipe running to the house's sewer system, and the trash can's lid had been sealed with plexiglass and foam sealant.

Police said it appears the woman had been dead for several days. As part of the investigation, they found a receipt dated Oct. 27 for the sealant and 100 pounds of livestock stall deodorizer in the home.

Neighbors said they were stunned to hear details of the case emerge.

"That is incredible. Can't believe something like this would happen in this neighborhood," said neighbor Nick Baumhardt. "Nice houses, not a lot of problems, good people, then you find out fricking Hannibal Lector is living down the road."

Police said there had been no record of any trouble between Meece and Straub, and neither has an arrest history in Nashville.

Beth Straub was a hard worker and the mother to two grown sons, we're told. She and her boyfriend, Jesse Meece, both appeared to have stable jobs, no criminal background and a common interest in horses.

Her former mother-in-law in Kentucky was shocked to hear how she died.

"She didn't deserve that. All she ever did was work and care about the horses," Sandy Straub said.

Beth was married to Sandy Straub's son, but the marriage ended in divorce.

Sandy Straub says Beth was a very strong person who loved paint horses.

Beth Straub grew up in New York, was laid off there and relocated to Kentucky, where she often held two jobs at a time.

"She was a very strong person. She had ideas, she had ambitions, she would want this, and she would want that, but she worked hard, she always worked for it," Sandy Straub said.

Beth was a contract worker who specialized in supply chain and logistics. Until she went missing, she worked at a company called NFI.

In a statement, the company said: "NFI extends our sincere condolences to Beth's family and friends. Our priority is to support her loved ones and our impacted employees during this difficult time."

Jesse Meece also has roots in Kentucky. He was president of his own computer company in Somerset, KY, before taking a job in Nashville at a company called Service Source.

In a statement, his employer wrote: "We are saddened by the tragic circumstances involving this incident and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those affected."

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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