Man arrested in 2019 death of Ballston Spa woman in Vermont, police there say

Deven D. Moffitt, left, and Jessica Hildenbrandt - Credit: Vermont State Police

Deven D. Moffitt, left, and Jessica Hildenbrandt - Credit: Vermont State Police

SEARSBURG, VT. A Vermont man has been arrested in connection with the murder of a Ballston Spa woman there in 2019, Vermont State Police said this week.

The arrest comes in the death of Jessica Hildenbrandt, who was 43, officials said.

Her remains were discovered in the southern Vermont town of Searsburg in September 2019 and she was identified through DNA analysis a year later, officials have said.

Arrested in her death is Bennington, Vt., resident Deven D. Moffitt, 32, police said. He was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree murder, police said.

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Police from multiple agencies initially attempted to arrest him outside an apartment complex in Bennington, but he ran. A chase ensued and he was ultimately tackled and arrested, police said.

The investigation began Sept. 17, 2019, when a man reported finding what appeared to be a human jawbone at a gravel pit in Searsburg, police said.

The remains were identified as Hildenbrandt’s in July 2020 and then her death ruled a homicide in September 2020, police said.

Detectives determined Hildenbrandt and Moffitt had been in a relationship while Moffitt was incarcerated in Vermont on a previous conviction, police said.

In March 2019, Hildenbrandt reported to authorities that she feared for her life if Moffitt were released. Vermont State Police assigned a detective to the case who interviewed Hildenbrandt, but she ultimately stopped cooperating and law enforcement was unable to pursue the matter further, Vermont State Police said.

After the discovery and identification of her remains, investigators determined Hildenbrandt had posted bail for Moffitt July 8, 2019, in a newly filed criminal case. Evidence in the Hildenbrandt case indicates she was killed in mid-July 2019, police said.

Investigators spoke with numerous witnesses and associates of Hildenbrandt and Moffitt, analyzed cell phone, text message and location data, executed digital search warrants and reviewed corrections call records, police said.

Moffitt was ordered held without bail pending arraignment Thursday.

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Categories: News, Saratoga County, Saratoga Springs

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