Helen Jean Lee update: Goodyear woman missing under suspicious circumstances

GOODYEAR, AZ - A man arrested following a carjacking and pursuit in Chandler Wednesday is now being investigated in connection with the suspicious disappearance of his grandmother.

Police went to the Goodyear home of 78-year-old Helen Jean Lee late Wednesday after Lee's daughter, who lives in Tucson, reported her missing.

Police say detectives found evidence that indicates possible foul play at the home. On Thursday afternoon, Goodyear police said detectives were near Gila Bend following up on an unidentified body found in the desert this afternoon.

Air15 on Thursday morning flew over the scene near McDowell and Litchfield roads and showed damage to Lee's garage door.

According to officials, neighbors noticed the garage door bashed in and called police. Police entered the home and found evidence of suspicious activity.

Neighbors tell ABC15 Lee's husband passed away several years ago. Police say her grandson, 40-year-old Jason Howell, was living with Lee.

Neighbor Becky Larsen has lived next door to Lee since August. She told her husband she felt something wasn't right because "her (Lee's) trash can is still out and it usually isn't."

Larsen says she remembers the day she met Howell. She said, "I could tell that maybe he had troubles in his life and maybe his grandmother was helping him out...he seemed polite."

Another neighbor, Don Morrison said, "Obviously if we haven't heard from her, the church hasn't heard from her, cell phones turned off, it's pretty ominous in my opinion." 

Howell was taken into custody on Wednesday after allegedly stealing a car left running outside Kyrene Del Cielo with a 12-year-old girl inside. The girl was able to get out of the car before Howell drove away.

As he fled police, Howell allegedly rammed at least two police cars. The chase ended at Future City Park near 50th Street and Ray Road with Howell's arrest.

Goodyear police say Howell is a "person of interest" in Lee's disappearance.


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