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Michigan man accused of strangling former girlfriend to death indicted after 16 years

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Fourth Estate Staff

Detroit, MI, United States (4E) – The Michigan man accused of strangling his former girlfriend to death 16 years ago was indicted on a first-degree murder charge on Tuesday.

The incident took place back in the year 2000 in Tennessee. The victim, Sarah Lea Perry, told police officials that hours before she disappeared on June 14 of the aforementioned year, the suspect, Jason Sanford, threatened her because she broke up with him. Her body was found the following day in a trash can by two 12-year-old boys who were playing in Spring Creek.

Sanford then went to Detroit. He was arrested only on Tuesday after cold case investigations were started. This comes after the victim’s mother, Pam Hilton, urged the police to investigate her death once again. It remains unclear why detectives were not able to make a case against Sanford years ago, said Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston .

Detective Brian Ashburn, assigned to the Cold Case Unit, was contacted by Hilton in May. He then talked to Hilton and began a review of the case file. It is unclear what he saw but he reportedly recognized quickly that the case could be solved.

Hilton shared that at the time her daughter was killed, she as only 21 years old and was in an abusive relationship. Hilton did not know the details about her daughter’s relationship back then but she said that she got involved with the wrong person. She added, “I kept reminding her to be cautious of him.” at the time of Perry’s death, she left behind two children. They are now 18 and 20 years old.

Sanford is now in a Michigan jail and is waiting for extradition to Tennessee. Originally, Sanford is from the Detroit area but move to Chattanooga due to work. When Sanford was arrested this Wednesday, he was living with his mother and was working at an auto detailer.

There are no other details regarding his preliminary court appearance since it could take up to a month to have Sanford extradited if he refuses to do so.


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