Police: Oakmont native confessed to killing Bethel Park woman in Nevada
An Oakmont native who confessed to killing a Bethel Park woman in the Nevada desert two months ago will remain in Allegheny County Jail without bail, a judge ruled Tuesday.
But John Matthew Chapman, 39, of Oakland, Md., has yet to be charged with the death of Jaime Mae Feden, 33. Chapman is originally from Oakmont, Bethel Park police Chief Tim O’Conner said.
Chapman told police he bound Feden to a signpost and taped her nose and mouth until she was unable to breath.
Remains believed to be Feden’s were found in Lincoln County, Nev., about 170 miles north of Las Vegas, but the condition of the remains prevented the coroner’s office from identifying them as hers. The police are using DNA to try to identify the victim, according to Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry D. Lee.
Authorities from Nevada and Bethel Park are working together on the case, O’Conner said. Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey A. Manning ruled Chapman be held without bail on charges of kidnapping, criminal use of a phone and obstruction.
The judge found that Chapman is a flight risk and noted the serious nature of the charges. A public defender argued at a hearing for Chapman that the charges will be overdue if the hearing takes place as scheduled Dec. 5.
Prosecutors and the public defender’s office noted in court that charges of homicide are expected in Nevada against Chapman for Feden’s killing.
Feden is a 4-foot-tall, 70-pound woman who suffered from VATER syndrome, which among other things limited her mental capacity, police wrote in the criminal complaint against Chapman. Because of her condition, Feden’s uncle had control of a trust for Feden, police said in the complaint. The uncle has declined comment.
She was last seen in mid-September and was romantically linked to Chapman, according to the complaint. Feden’s friends and family members told police that the pair had a “tumultuous relationship.”
Feden’s public Facebook posts indicate there were disputes with her family regarding her relationship with Chapman.
“Well now it’s gone too far. What my family is doing is about to have legal consequences because John is planning to go to the county courthouse on Monday and file stalking charges against the members of my family that won’t stop … yes I looked it up and what they are doing fits the definition of stalking,” a post dated Jan. 24 reads.
In a 3:25 a.m. Friday interview with Bethel Park police, Chapman said he and Feden drove to Nevada, and on Sept. 25, they went to the desert for a bondage-themed photo shoot, according to the criminal complaint.
Chapman told police he bound Feden’s hands and feet with duct tape to a signpost and taped her mouth and nose. She suffocated to death, according to a criminal complaint.
Chapman unbound her, removed her clothes and left her body by the signpost, before returning to Pennsylvania, he told police.
Chapman also is accused of logging onto Feden’s Facebook accounts between mid-September and Friday and sending messages under her identity. Family members told police they suspected that Feden was not writing the messages, according to the complaint.
He is also accused of using a phone number masking application to contact them via text message, pretending he was Feden, the complaint said.
Although Chapman and Feden were romantically linked, he is married to another woman, Maureen Chapman, who lives in Oakland, Md., about 135 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
Maureen Chapman hasn’t returned messages seeking comment, but she told Trib news partner WPXI that her husband led an apparent double-life.
John Chapman called his wife and told her he murdered Feden, according to WPXI.
“Oh, my God, it’s sick. It’s really sick. I just want the truth as to what happened. I feel I’m owed that,” Maureen Chapman told WPXI.
A Facebook page for a John Chapman that uses a photo resembling his Allegheny County Jail mug shot says that he’s a home security service technician who previously served in the Navy. The Facebook page says Chapman attended Riverview High School from 1995 to 1999.
The Facebook page lists Maureen Chapman as his sister.
Attempts to reach Chapman’s family members and Feden’s friends have been unsuccessful.
One of Feden’s friends, Nikki Lawrence, who lives in Finleyville according to her Facebook profile, told BuzzfeedNews that Feden likely didn’t know that Chapman was married.
Feden and Chapman had known each other since about 2009, Lawrence told Buzzfeed, and Feden pursued the relationship although family and friends disapproved of Chapman.
“She was so strong-willed; she made up her own decisions,” Lawrence told Buzzfeed.
Lawrence received text messages she thought were from Feden in October, weeks after she presumably was killed.
“It makes me sick this was him texting me the whole time,” Lawrence posted on Facebook, according to Buzzfeed.
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .