UPDATE: EL DORADO, Ark. (02/19/20) — The man accused of killing a woman last month outside of El Dorado made an appearance in court today.
Jay Moody, 29, made his first court appearance in Union County District Court. Moody has been charged with two counts of capital murder.
Moody requested a lower bond be set for his release. However, the state requested Moody be held on no bond due to significant evidence establishing probable cause in the arrest.
Judge Jack Barker denied Moody’s request and no bond was set. Judge Barker also determined that Moody will not be eligible for a public defender and must hire his own attorney.
If Moody is later found guilty he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole or death by lethal injection.
An arrest has been made in the murder of pregnant woman
UPDATE: EL DORADO, Ark. (2/14/20) Authorities have arrested Jay Moody, who is being accused of murdering Marchella Modica and her unborn child. Jayceon.
“Just going back and seeing her in the side of the ditch and to get to where we are today we’re excited,” Sheriff Ricky Robert said.
According to the Union County Sheriff’s Office, on January 28th, deputies responded to the area of 250 Old Mill Road near Wesson in reference to what appeared to the caller to be body in the ditch.
Deputies discovered the body of Marchella Modica, 22, faced down in the ditch with two gunshot wounds. They also discovered that Marchella was nine months pregnant.
As investigators searched the area near where Marchella was found, they discovered what would prove to be the location she was shot. They said it was about 250 yards away in a wooded area behind an abandoned residence.
“One of the most important people in our ability to solve her murder was Marchella herself,” Union County Sheriff’s Detective, Jeff Stinson said. “Evidence suggests that at some point after she was shot , she stood up and walked out to where she was found before finally succumbing to her injuries.”
“The location where Marchella was found was so isolated that if she had not been so determined to live, so determined to try to find help for her and her child it could have taken weeks if not months before she was found. Thus, significantly limiting the amount of evidence available to us, ultimately used to find her killer.”
As the investigation progressed, Moody, believed to be Jayceon’s father, was shown to be the primary person of interest in the case.
Through witness testimony and physical evidence, investigators were able to construct both Marchella and Moody’s travel patterns through the evening on which she died and link Moody with her death.
Detectives did not provide details on the type of evidence they found. They said those details will come out during the trial investigation. When the time comes, they’re confident Moody will be found guilty.
“We’re a long way from a conviction but we feel if we went to court today, the court would show that he’s guilty,” Sheriff Ricky Roberts said.
Roberts said the case was a top priority for the department. The detectives worked tirelessly to help get justice for Marchella and her family.
“It affected all of us. To give her family a little bit of closure today when they should be celebrating their grandson, their nephew. We’re just grateful to give them that.”
Moody’s first court appearance will be on Tuesday. He’s being held at the Union County Sheriff’s Office with no bond.
UPDATE: EL DORADO, Ark. (02/01/20) — Family and friends gathered today at Mattocks Park to honor two lives that were lost in El Dorado.
Marchella Modica, 22, was found dead outside of El Dorado Tuesday morning. She was just 8 weeks away from delivering her baby boy.
Classmates and friends of Marchella’s released pink and blue balloons to the sky while screaming “We love you Marchella. Fly high baby girl.”
Modica’s 5-year-old daughter, Marianna Baker, joined her family as she told her mother she wanted her to meet her in the park. Afterwards, Baker told her mother she loved her.
Modica’s close friends and classmates said she will really be missed.
“I’m just glad she made it to heaven. It always rains when the sun shines,” Modica’s classmates, Dallis Bellin said. “So, we know she made it. It shouldn’t have ever happened.”
Modica’s funeral will be next Saturday. No arrests have been made in this case. If you have any information about this homicide, you’re asked to contact Union County Sheriff’s Deputies.
Pregnant mother found dead, family believes she was shot and left for dead
UNION COUNTY, Ark. (01/29/20) — The investigation into the death of a pregnant mother is ongoing after she was found dead in the Wesson area of Union County.
Investigators say they were called around 7 a.m. to an area near Wesson Road in reference to a body beside the roadway. When Union County Sheriff’s Investigators arrived, they found the body of Marchella Modica, 22.
Family members believe Modica was shot and left for dead. They said a school bus full of children passed by the area Tuesday morning and saw what they believed to be a body laying in the ground. When the bus driver later returned, the body was still there and an investigation later followed.
“That’s not a way for a person to die,” Modica’s sister, Mellaneshia Modica said. “I wouldn’t even want my worst enemy to go through something like that. She didn’t deserve to die like this.”
Modica made her last post to Facebook at 7:34 p.m. on Monday, saying she was thankful for the day.
Modica’s sister said she saw her a little after she made that post and she never thought she wouldn’t see her again. Trayshun Champion, Modica’s big brother said it doesn’t seem real.
“When I got the news I was devastated,” he said. “My baby sister is gone and whoever is responsible for these actions, I want them to be brought to justice.”
Investigators haven’t released many details about the homicide investigation but they say they are investigating leads.
Modica was expecting a baby boy in just a few weeks. Her five-year-old daughter is now left to live life without her mom and the little brother she always wanted.
“She’s going to have to go from seeing her everyday to not seeing her at all no more,” Champion said. “That little girl meant everything to Marchella. She would walk through fire for that girl.”
Modica’s aunt said she last spoke to her niece on Monday. She remembered Modica saying how excited she was to meet her baby boy. She had baby clothing spread out all across the bed, counting the day until her second child was born.
“She told me she wanted me she wanted to get her nails done before she went in labor. She just wanted to be pretty,” Modica’s God-Sister, Shatoria Rainey said. “I told her I was going to make sure she was pretty. She wanted me to be in the room with her when she had her baby… but she just left.”
Family and friends said they will all remember her for her loving spirit and how hard she worked to provide for her family.
“She’d keep you laughing,” Champion said. “She would give you the shirt off of her back.”
Modica’s body has been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for an autopsy. Anyone with information about this case are urged to contact the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
“Ain’t nobody trying to get any revenge,” Modica’s brother said. “The damage has already been done. We can’t get her back. We just want justice that’s all.”
A family friend has set up a GoFund me page. If you would like to help with Modica’s funeral expenses, you can donate here.