It was a tragic end to the search for missing UALR student Marquita Smith. Police say her ex-boyfriend has confessed to killing the young woman who has been missing since November 11th. He now faces a first degree murder charge.
Little Rock Police investigators say they've been aggressively investigating this case from the beginning, but say early on they weren't getting much cooperation from those who knew Smith. So they thought there was a chance she just ran off, until yesterday when people started talking.
Police say when they picked up Richardson for another round of questioning Thursday evening he told them a lot more about what happened to his ex-girlfriend.
"During the night last night, we did get the boyfriend down here again. He changed his story to say that he had been in a domestic disturbance with her. As a result of that he did kill her. He told us where her body was," said Lieutenant Terry Hastings with Little Rock Police.
Richardson led police to an abandoned house on 8th Street where they found Smith's body underneath the house in the crawl space. They believe its been there since November 11th. That's the day Smith went missing. Police say Richardson killed her in his home on West 11th Street and brought her body three blocks away the same day.
A missing person's report was filed days later. Smith's mother Kathy told FOX16 her daughter was a dedicated student at UALR and it was out of her character to leave without telling anyone. She says Richardson was abusive to her daughter and when she asked him if he knew where she was he said, "Just be patient and wait like everybody else."
Police say with little information to go on, they started thinking maybe Smith did just run off. "When people are not truthful its very hard to investigate a crime. Those that are involved for whatever reason were not telling us all the facts. Finally the truth came to light," said Hastings.
Hastings says Smith's body was badly decomposed but there were visible wounds on the body. Right now they aren't sure exactly how she was killed. The body has been sent for an autopsy. Police say Smith and Richardson had a history of domestic abuse. Both were arrested last year for domestic battery on each other.