The man accused of murdering a young mother whose body was found decapitated inside a suitcase in the trunk of a car has been named as a convicted felon with a history of drug charges.
Jeremiah ‘Jerry’ Johnston, 35, was arrested on Thursday night hours after police found 28-year-old mother Sara Zhgoul in the trunk of the car in Aloha, Oregon.
Her body had been taken apart and placed into two separate suitcases. Police will not say who alerted them to the vehicle.
Johnston was arrested after being heard screaming as he sat in a ravine three miles from where Zhgoul’s body was found.
He is one of the woman’s neighbors and lives at his mother’s house which is half-a-mile from Zhgoul’s last known address.
Jeremiah ‘Jerry’ Johnston, 35, is the suspect arrested in the murder of 28-year-old mother Sara Zghoul whose body was found decapitated and in two suitcases in the trunk of a BMW in Aloha, Oregon, on Thursday. Johnston is pictured in an old booking photo. He remains in hospital after slashing his wrists and throat in an attempt to kill himself before he was arrested on Thursday
Zhoul’s body was found mutilated in two separate suitcases in the back of this BMW on Thursday night
As police approached him, he tried to slash his throats and wrists. He remains in hospital and has not yet been charged but is in police custody.
Johnston was identified on Tuesday by police sources cited by Oregon Live.
He lives with his mother in the home where the car containing Zhgou’s body was found.
On Friday, there was a large police presence at the property.
It is not clear yet whether he knew the Zghoul. She was an aspiring actress and model whose family are from Jordan.
Johnston’s criminal record is littered with drugs and traffic offenses. He has also been convicted in the past of identity theft.
On Thursday night, at around 11pm, police received a 911 call from Aloha resident Michael Larsen. He reported hearing a man screaming in the ravine near his apartment and said the man was calling for help.
Police were seen searching the home where Johnston lives with his mother in Aloha, Oregon, on Friday
Zghoul, an aspiring actress and model, lived just half-a-mile away in a $500,000 home. It is not clear who she lived with
Larsen’s daughter first heard the screams and, she claimed, when she told Johnson that help was coming, he thanked her.
It is not known how many relatives Zghoul had in the United States.
As news of her death spread, the Zghoul tribe in Jordan spoke to local media to demand justice.
They said she was married and was a graduate of the University of Portland but no record of her could be found there.
Her friends in Oregon described her as a loving mother.