ALTON — A woman, nearly eight months pregnant, was decapitated in her home here, and her on-again, off-again boyfriend now faces murder charges in the deaths of the woman and her unborn child.
DeUndreá S. Holloway Jr., 22, was being held on $2 million bail in the deaths last week of Liese Dodd and the unborn baby. Police found Dodd’s head in a dumpster outside her apartment, according to court documents.
Alton police Chief Marcos Pulido called Holloway a monster.
“What was observed, what was learned, what was found, is absolutely terrible,” the chief said in an emotional video describing the crime. “She was decapitated by a freaking savage monster.”
Court records indicate Holloway has no convictions for assault or other violence, but he did rob a friend of cash in a nearby county three years ago.
On Thursday afternoon, Dodd’s mother, worried that she hadn’t heard from her daughter, went to check on her before 1 p.m. The mother discovered the horrid scene at Dodd’s apartment in the 3400 block of Bolivar Street in Alton. Dodd had recently moved into one of the apartments inside a house there.
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Dodd, 22, was expecting the birth of her baby girl July 27, according to her online baby registry. Her wish list included a pink princess crib sheet. The family was planning a baby shower at the end of this month.
This would have been her first child, Pulido confirmed to the Post-Dispatch. Dodd’s mother and other relatives could not be reached Tuesday. Authorities have not said if Holloway was the father of the unborn child. Pulido said Dodd and Holloway had had “an on-and-off dating relationship for about two years.”
Holloway lives in the 400 block of South Jefferson Street in Litchfield. Gillespie police arrested Holloway about 3:30 p.m. Thursday — in connection with a case unrelated to the slaying.
Two hours after Dodd was found dead, Gillespie police were investigating a bicycle theft about 30 miles away from Alton, in their small town of 3,000 residents. The bike’s owner gave police a description of the man pedaling away on the stolen bike, and police arrested Holloway based on that description.
Gillespie police Chief Jared DePoppe said Holloway was combative and uncooperative when officers brought him to their police station. Holloway wouldn’t give police his name; he tried to hit his head against the wall and refused to sit down, DePoppe said.
Holloway had no blood on his clothing nor anything that raised suspicions about something more sinister, DePoppe said. Gillespie police booked Holloway into the Macoupin County Jail as a “John Doe,” not knowing he was connected to anything in Alton. Only later did jail officials find out who he was.
On Monday, Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas Haine charged Holloway with two counts of first-degree murder in Dodd’s death and two counts of intentional homicide of an unborn child. Holloway also is charged with dismembering a human body, concealing a homicide and possessing a stolen Kia Optima.
"We believe the evidence will show that the defendant's gruesome actions here killed both a young woman and the child she carried in her womb," according to a statement from Haine's office. "In the eyes of the law both these killings are equal."
In Illinois, prosecutors use the two counts of murder for one victim to give the jury an option. It revolves around what the killer’s intent was. One of the murder charges alleges that Holloway intended to kill her or knew his action would cause her death; the second count hinges on the strong probability it would kill her. The jury can’t pick both.
Holloway is on probation for robbery in Macoupin County. In 2019, he confessed to robbing his friend of cash on their way to buy marijuana, said Macoupin County state’s attorney Jordan Garrison. Holloway had no prior criminal convictions in that county at the time, Garrison said. Holloway was sentenced to two years’ probation and ordered to pay $900 in restitution. Holloway’s probation supervision was transferred to Montgomery County when he moved to Litchfield.
The police chief of Litchfield, Kenny Ryker, said Holloway had attended high school in Litchfield and had some traffic cases in the town of about 7,000 but police didn’t have “frequent encounters” with him.
After Dodd’s death, the Alton Telegraph reported that police in Alton collected several bags of evidence after searching a commercial-sized dumpster on property adjacent to the house on Bolivar. Madison County charging documents say Holloway put Dodd’s head in a dumpster.
“What she went through … can make some people completely lost for words,” Pulido said.
What the first-responders saw in that apartment was horrific, the chief added, and the department is now using a wellness program set up a few years ago for its officers to speak with counselors.
Eighteen years ago, Alton experienced a similarly gruesome murder in which a mentally ill man was decapitated. Police in 2004 found the body parts of Jesse R. Emery, 21, of Carlinville, in plastic trash bags in the trunk of a car parked in the 400 block of Mather Street. Emery had been slain in an apartment building near the car.
Chadwick Wallace and Jason Mobley, both of Alton, were each sentenced to 75 years in Emery’s death. Prosecutors said the two men met Emery in an Alton tavern on Aug. 27, 2004; Emery accompanied them to Mobley’s nearby apartment, where the men stabbed and choked Emery to death, then cut up his body in a bathtub.
Story updated June 16 with correct spelling of Holloway's first name, as provided by his mother.