Yesterday, we told you about the startling case of Ari Misha Liggett, who was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder after the dismembered remains of a woman were found in the backseat of his car; see our previous coverage below. Now, the victim has been positively identified as Beverly Liggett, the suspect's mother -- and additional details are surfacing regarding her fears about her son and the search that led to a particularly gruesome discovery.
As we've reported, the 24-year-old Liggett's name first appeared in this space after a 2010 arrest on a weapons charge led to a bizarre chemical scare at a Boulder homeless shelter involving a substance later identified as potassium ferrocyanide in granular form. Then, on Monday, family members reported that Liggett and his mother, with whom he lived, were missing. Credit card transactions told authorities Liggett had visited the Western Slope, but they didn't sight him until the early morning hours of Wednesday, as he drove in an Arapahoe County neighborhood near their 6223 East Peakview Avenue address in Centennial. Liggett was arrested after a one-car crash and brief foot chase, after which officers discovered the dismembered remains of an adult female in the backseat of his car.
The Arapahoe County coroner has now positively identified the body as belonging to Beverly, a registered nurse. Meanwhile, 9News spoke with Ronald Liggett, Ari's father, whose concerns, and those of Beverly's current boyfriend, when Beverly didn't answer the phone originally led to the investigation. He told the station Liggett is mentally ill. "This is a mental-health issue," he said. "Like you're seeing every day in the papers, it won't be positively addresses until the society takes it as seriously as the war on drugs or terrorism."
More details from the station: Investigators who entered the Peakview home when the case was still about a missing person, not homicide, discovered blood in a freezer and bathtub, as well as what are described as "cutting tools" in the dishwasher. Also on scene was what's believed to be potassium cyanide in its more dangerous liquid form.
The implication: Liggett may have killed and dismembered Beverly in Centennial before he was caught with her remains -- meaning he may have been driving around with them for days.
The crime scene at the Liggett's Centennial home.
For his part, Liggett reportedly told police that he found his mom dead in the living room of the home and believed she'd killed herself -- but rather than calling the authorities, he put her in the freezer out of panic. He added, however, that he'd recently found out he wasn't listed in his mom's will, which could be taken as a motive.
More disturbing information is found in a January 2010 court filing accessed by 9News. According to the documents, Beverly was afraid for her life more than two years ago due to her son's actions. Part of her concerns came from the discovery of a modified rifle, supplemented by two containers of potassium ferrocyanide and a gas mask, among his stuff -- but he's also said to have announced in the past that he intended to "get rid of the family," including Beverly and his younger sister.
Here's a 9News report about the crime, followed by our previous coverage.
Continue for our previous coverage, including photos and a map of the area near the crime scene. Original post, 8:13 a.m. October 18: Ari Misha Liggett first appeared in this space after being arrested circa 2010 in relation to a bizarre chemical scare at a Boulder homeless shelter. That incident (get more details below) ended peacefully, but not so his latest reason for making headlines. He's been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder after the remains of a dismembered woman were found in his car. The body hasn't been ID'd, but his mom is missing.
As we reported in March 2010, Liggett was arrested at an Arapahoe County UPS office on a warrant for illegal weapons possession -- specifically, a silencer.
Afterward, Boulder Police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley told us at the time, Liggett "indicated that he'd been staying at the Boulder Homeless Shelter and had some materials in a suitcase in a locker there that could potentially be dangerous if someone didn't know what they were or how to handle them."
Boulder authorities evacuated the shelter during the afternoon, before any clients had checked in for the night, and called for the bomb squad and a hazmat team. After X-raying the suitcase, they opened it to discover a Mason-jar-type container and an original shipping package containing a substance Huntley described as "granular." The material, which was subsequently identified as potassium ferrocyanide, was safely transported off the premises and the shelter was reopened, but not until almost midnight, approximately seven hours after the entire ordeal began.
According to the Denver Post, Liggett pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in relation to the incidents and received a four-year deferred sentence and a year's worth of probation.
Certainly a bizarre story, but hardly one that could prepare us for the latest tragedy -- although, strangely enough, the new crime also involves cyanide.
At about 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 15, according to a release sent under the name of Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, ACSO deputies responded to 6223 East Peakview Avenue in regard to a report about two missing people: Liggett, 24, and his 56-year-old mother, ID'd by the Post as Beverly Liggett, a registered nurse. The call came from family members who said they were concerned for their welfare.
A missing persons report was issued and deputies were able to trace the Liggetts' whereabouts to the Western Slope via credit card transactions. Then, at about 1:30 a.m. yesterday morning, deputies spotted a vehicle associated with the pair driving through a neighborhood adjacent to the East Peakview address. They weren't able to stop the car at that time, but about twenty minutes later, a Greenwood Village Police officer tried again and succeeded, but not without some damage.
The intersection at East Orchard Road and Dayton Street where the one-car crash took place.
The officer's efforts resulted in what's described as a one-car traffic crash at East Orchard Road and South Dayton Street. Liggett then split the scene on foot but was captured a short time later. But when the officer returned to the vehicle, he made a shocking discovery: The remains of a dismembaered adult female were found in the backseat.
Identification of the body is expected soon from the Arapahoe County coroner. In the meantime, officers searched the East Peakview home, and they found inside what's suspected to be potassium cyanide in liquid form -- meaning it's more dangerous than the granular stuff discovered in the Boulder homeless shelter a couple of years ago. Testing is underway to confirm that supposition.
In the meantime, Liggett has been booked on suspicion of first-degree murder. Look below to take a larger look at his mug shot, followed by an interactive graphic of the area around the East Peakview address. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
Ari Misha Liggett.
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