Jermaine Richards was arrested in connection with the death of Alyssiah Wiley.
Eastern Connecticut State University students and faculty honor Alyssiah Wiley, who police said was killed by her boyfriend
BRIDGEPORT, CT (WFSB) -
The search for a missing college student has turned into a search for justice after 30-year-old Jermaine Richards was arrested in connection with the death of Alyssiah Wiley.
Richards, who has no criminal history, made his first court appearance Monday after he was charged with kidnapping and murder and was ordered held on $1 million bond.
Police said more evidence was recovered from Richards' home over the weekend, and he surrendered to police after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Police say Richards and Wiley had a relationship.
Wiley, who was a sophomore at Eastern Connecticut State University, was last seen April 20 when she said she was going home to West Haven for the weekend. However, she wasn't reported missing until four days later when she failed to return to campus for classes.
A search was launched and people had been looking for her ever since.
Her remains were found in a wooded area along the Trumbull/Bridgeport lines Friday morning after weeks of searching.
Police have not said how they believe she died.
There was a large police presence outside the arraignment for Richards. Police said there were concerns there could be some outbursts and trouble because both families were at Bridgeport Superior Court.
"We didn't expect it to end this way," said Wiley's cousin.
John Gulash, who is representing Richards, said his client plans to plead not guilty.
"I am not going to comment on the case," he said.
Richards is involved in a custody battle for a child he has with another woman.
Gulash told reporters that he has been representing Richards for weeks while the investigation was being conducted. He added that he told Richards to turn himself into police.
While Richards was not officially called a suspect, he was a person of interest for a while.
"It is with a heavy heart that I come before you this afternoon," said Susan Hayward of ECSU.
A prayer vigil was held at ECSU Monday afternoon in honor of Wiley.
"We are so sad," said Janell Lewis, who is a ECSU graduate. "We can't make sense of this."
After the ceremony, white balloons were let go.
Wiley was studying psychology and a vibrant member of a women's group on campus.
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