David Ehsanipoor, a spokesman for the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department, said human remains were discovered after officers shot and killed Chad Moretz, 34, of Rincon at his home in suburban Savannah on Friday.
More remains were found in a storage unit in Jasper County, S.C., he said.
Ehsanipoor said investigators believe the body parts were those of an acquaintance of Moretz, 35-year-old Charlie Ray, whose relatives reported him missing from Savannah on New Year’s Eve. Investigators believe Moretz killed the man and dismembered the body to hide it, he said.
Then, when officers showed up to investigate, he grabbed an assault rifle to hold officers at bay.
The man believed to be Ray had been dead several days, Ehsanipoor said. Medical examiners have yet to determine a cause of death, he said.
“This is probably the most bizarre case I’ve ever seen in my entire career,” Ehsanipoor said.
Ray suffered from a medical condition, and relatives reported him missing Dec. 31 because he didn’t have his medicine. An investigation led police to Moretz, Ehsanipoor said.
Authorities said Moretz grabbed an assault weapon and took his wife hostage when officers showed up Friday. She escaped after several hours, and the man emerged from the house within seconds and leveled a weapon at officers, who shot and killed him, Ehsanipoor said.
Investigators believe Moretz was responsible for Ray’s death. But his wife and her brother were charged with concealing a death. Kimberly Moretz, 40, and Kevin Lambert, 38, were held in the county jail, Ehsanipoor said.
It was unclear if Moretz or Lambert had attorneys.
Investigators learned during the standoff that a body might be inside the Moretz home, so they used thermal imaging equipment to find the body parts once it ended. Pieces were found behind a cabinet near a ceiling, Ehsanipoor said.
Officers went to the storage unit based on a tip and found even more remains, he said.
An autopsy already is complete in South Carolina, and an additional exam is set for Monday in Georgia.
Moretz was most recently arrested in December on a charge of making terroristic threats and was well-known to police, Ehsanipoor said. Authorities have yet to determine a motive for Ray’s death, he said, and it might be difficult to do so because both the suspect and victim are dead.