A man has been arrested for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend whose body he allegedly drove across state lines and dumped by the side of the road.
Mahmood Bhatti, 28, is accused of killing his pregnant 23-year-old girlfriend Natalie Merrick in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they lived and had a son together.
Her body was found 20 miles away beneath a bridge at a creek on the side of the road in Fort Mill, South Carolina, on October 19 and went unidentified until one of her loved ones reported her missing in her home state the following day.
Police then connected her vanishing to the discovery in South Carolina and arrested Bhatti on Wednesday.
Mahmood Bhatti, 28, is accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend Natalie Merrick, 23, last week and dumping her body by the side of the road
Police have not revealed how far along she was in her pregnancy or how she was killed.
Bhatti now faces charges not only for allegedly murdering Merrick but also for the death of the baby she was carrying when she died.
Authorities say the pair were in a long-term relationship. They have one son together and were expecting their second child.
They believe Bhatti killed his girlfriend in Charlotte then drove across state lines to dump her body beneath the bridge where she was found by by-passers last Thursday.
The discovery of her body shocked the community in Fort Mill, the small town where she was found.
Police say the pair (left in 2014 together) were in a long-term relationship. They had one son together, seen right with Bhatti
Merrick (above with the couple’s son) was expecting her second child when she was killed
The young mother’s body was found by a creek in Fort Mill, South Carolina (above) on Thursday
Merrick was reported missing from her home in Charlotte on October 20. Her body was found a day earlier 20 miles away in Fort Mill, South Carolina
In a statement, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police spokesman said: ‘Bhatti and the victim were in a long time relationship and had a child in common.
‘CMPD Homicide Detectives obtained arrest warrants against Bhatti for Murder and Murder of an Unborn Child.’
Authorities have not yet revealed how the young mother was killed.
Neither the police department nor the coroner would release her cause of death on Wednesday afternoon.
It is also not clear who reported Merrick missing on October 20.
After her body was found by the creek, police in South Carolina issued photographs of Merrick’s tattoos including one on her shoulder which bore her son’s name. They will not reveal how the woman died
Another of Merrick’s tattoos (right). The skin around her wrist appeared to be scratched in the photograph issued by police after her body was found
Police believe the woman was killed near her home in Charlotte, North Carolina (above) and was moved by her boyfriend afterwards
Sheriffs in Fort Mill released photographs of her tattoos in a bid to identify her last week.
They included one which had the symbols of the Turkish flag along with her son’s name.
Police have not yet suggested what may have prompted Bhatti to carry out the alleged killing.
In August, Bhatti was arrested for misdemeanor assault on a female and was booked into county jail but was released on a bail.
He now faces two murder charges for his girlfriend’s death and the death of their unborn baby.
Police say the pair were in a long-term relationship (left together). Bhatti was previously arrested in August for assaulting a female but was released on bond