By The Associated Press
GULFPORT — Hancock County investigators said Saturday that a dismembered body that washed up in Mississippi belongs to a New Orleans dancer who went missing on Tuesday.
A female torso with a stab wound was found washed ashore late Thursday in Bay St. Louis by workers pumping sand onto the beach to rebuild it. Authorities said then they weren’t sure who it was, and the coroner said he would await a DNA test for a positive identification.
But early Saturday, a fisherman found part of Lockhart’s lower leg in Pass Christian. Authorities searched beaches in Harrison County, finding an upper leg portion nearby and Lockhart’s head to the west in Long Beach. A fourth body part was later found in Pass Christian.
Based on tattoos, Hancock County Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan said the additional body parts were enough to identify Jaren Lockhart.
“They all match with the torso based on the tattoos on her body,” Grannan said. “We’re going to continue with the DNA matching process, but now we’re looking into who is responsible.”
Lockhart’s brother told WWL-TV of New Orleans Friday that Lockhart had both her nipples and her belly button pierced, had two sparrow tattoos on her stomach and a skull tattoo with a pink bow on its head on her ribs.
Preliminary examination indicates the limbs were cut from the body, authorities say, and they’re treating the case as a murder. Lockhart, 22, went missing Tuesday from New Orleans. A boyfriend told police there that he last saw her taking a cab from Tulane Avenue to Bourbon Street, where she worked as a dancer.
Grannan said the woman could have been killed in Hancock or Harrison county. Authorities earlier said they believed body may have drifted east to Bay St. Louis, based on high winds and tides experienced Thursday.