(CNN) – A man from Pennsylvania admitted to taking his girlfriend from Pennsylvania to Nevada on the pretext of a vacation and then killing her, according to a Allegheny County criminal complaint filed Friday. Police say he later supplanted her through text messages and social networks for about two months.
John Chapman, 39, faces charges of kidnapping, obstruction of the law and criminal use of a communication facility in Pennsylvania, according to the complaint.
If Chapman is charged with murder depends on Nevada, since Pennsylvania lacks jurisdiction, said Bethel Park, Pennsylvania police chief Timothy O'Connor.RELATED
Chapman is being held at the Allegheny County Jail in Pennsylvania and was denied bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 21.
CNN has not been able to identify a lawyer for Chapman and calls to his family were not answered on Monday.
Chapman told his girlfriend that the trip was on vacation
Chapman told police that the incident began in September, according to the complaint. He convinced his girlfriend Jamie Feden, 33, to take him from Pennsylvania to Las Vegas on the pretext of a vacation and the potential to move there together, according to the complaint. They arrived in Las Vegas around September 23.
Feden had VATER syndrome, according to police. This refers to several congenital defects that often occur in conjunction with each other and affect the vertebrae and other parts of the body, according to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami. The criminal complaint says that the condition limited Feden's mental capacity.
On September 25, Chapman convinced Feden to drive into the desert to participate in a "photo session with slavery issues," the complaint said. At the scene, Chapman tied Feden's hands and feet with flanges to a signpost and put duct tape on his mouth and nose until he suffocated to death, the complaint said. Chapman then removed the tape, plastic bras and clothes from his girlfriend and left his body, according to the complaint.
A family finds a woman's body while using the bathroom
A woman's body was found in Las Vegas on October 5, according to a record in the database of the National System of Missing and Unidentified Persons.
A traveling family stopped to enter the bathroom. A family member walked away to use the bathroom in the desert area and discovered the woman's body, according to the database record.
The Lincoln County, Nevada, sheriff's office took the remains to the Clark County coroner's office in Las Vegas, where a full forensic autopsy was performed, according to a Oct. 6 statement from the sheriff's office.
The Clark County coroner's office told CNN on Monday that the body's identity has not yet been determined.
The Pennsylvania authorities say there is enough evidence to believe that Feden's body is, according to the documents, because the recovered remains share many of Feden's unique physical characteristics.
"We feel pretty sure that this is the missing person from Pennsylvania," said Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry D. Lee.
Next week, Lincoln County sheriff's agents will travel to meet with Pennsylvania authorities after meeting with the Lincoln County District Attorney's Office, Lee said.
Chapman impersonated Feden on social media
O'Connor told CNN that Chapman had been contacting Feden's family members through text messages and social networks pretending to be her for about two months until the police got involved.
Police say Chapman "masked" his phone number to communicate with his family while posing as the victim, using an application that hides the phone number of the cell phone of origin.
Feden's cousin said she received Facebook messages from the victim's account, but due to the conversation's dialogue, she didn't believe she was really communicating with the victim: she had asked test questions that were answered incorrectly, according to the complaint.
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Officers went to Feden's house to do a welfare check on Thursday after friends reported his disappearance, according to the complaint. The neighbors told police that they had not seen her in a long time, but that they did report Chapman's activity at the residence.
When the police entered the house, they found Feden's phone on the kitchen counter and a backpack containing a roll of duct tape and plastic tapes up, according to the complaint.
Artemis Moshtaghian, Kristina Sgueglia, Paul Murphy and Chris Boyette of CNN contributed to this report.