Detectives find unidentified body in Ariz. desert - New York News

Detectives find unidentified body in Ariz. desert

Posted: Updated:
Jason Eric Howell Jason Eric Howell
Helen Jean Lee Helen Jean Lee
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -

The grandson of a missing Goodyear woman led police to the desert near Gila Bend where a body was found Saturday morning.

78-year-old Helen Lee was reported missing under suspicious circumstances earlier this week.

There's three different crime scenes, all connected to Helen Lee's disappearance.

First her home in Goodyear, where someone crashed into her garage and left damage behind.

Then, her grandson, who lives with her, was involved in a car jacking and police chase in chandler. That's also where lee's car was found.

Then Saturday morning a body was found in the desert in Gila Bend.

The question on Saturday night: Did Lee's grandson kill her and dump her body in the desert?

"We feel that he has something to do with her disappearance. Whether that body is her, that is yet to be determined," said Lisa Kutis, Goodyear Police Department spokeswoman.

Police say Helen Lee's grandson, 40-year-old Jason Howell, led detectives to an area in Gila Bend.

Saturday morning, police dogs found a body.

"It was concealed in brush and shrubbery," said Kutis.

Howell has a criminal history, which includes substance abuse and burglary, according to police.

Neighbors say Lee had been trying to help Howell for the past four years and that she's called police on her grandson several times.

"We have heard loud outbursts from Jason and Helen was pretty adamant about her rules for the house and she tried to enforce it," said Don Morrison, a neighbor.

Nearly four days after the woman was reported missing, police are still at the home trying to piece together what happened, and although that body has not been identified yet, neighbors fear it is that missing grandmother.

"Unfortunately, I think the reality is that Helen is not going to come back here," said Morrison.

Police are waiting on a medical examiner to tell them if the body that was found in the desert is Helen Lee, and if it is, how she died.

"Given the nature of the volatility of the personality involved, my feeling is she's met her demise and it's not at her own hand," said Morrison.

Jason Howell is in custody, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions in this case.

Police haven't released a possible motive, aren't saying how Helen Lee's home was damaged or how her car ended up in Chandler.

Hopefully those questions will be answered now that a body has been found.

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