PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The man now at the center of a gruesome homicide investigation had no meaningful prior contact with Providence police. On Thursday, investigators combed his apartment building for hours before authorities arrested him in Delaware with a dead body allegedly concealed in his trunk.
So who was Louis D. Coleman III before this turn of grisly events?
Coleman, 32, is set to be charged with kidnapping, refusal to report a death with intent to conceal, and mutilation of a dead body, according to the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office.
Jassy Correia, 23, a mother to a 2-year-old daughter, was last seen alive late Saturday night leaving a Boston nightclub. On Thursday, police confirmed they found the body of a dead woman inside Coleman’s trunk, and family members told reporters it was Correia.
Coleman, whose roots appear to be in California, has a Facebook page that lists him as a “systems engineer” at Raytheon, a defense contractor in Portsmouth. A spokesman for the Arlington-based company tells Eyewitness News they are cooperating fully with the criminal investigation.
Coleman’s social media page also says he received his Master’s of Science from California State University. On Friday, a spokesman for the school told Eyewitness news a student by the same name did attend Long Beach State but declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation.
A personal website belonging to Coleman describes him as a developer, engineer and physicist.
“Inspired by the beautify [sic] of the universe and always wondering how things worked lead Louis to pursue and graduate with a degree in physics,” the website says. “His love of computers pushed him to learn about programming and his curious nature guided him to biomedical and electrical engineering electives during his undergraduate degree.”
Coleman’s website says he completed a thesis entitled, “The Human Lung: Plethysmography, Spirometry and Inverse Modeling.” A timeline on the site details Coleman’s education and the development of an app called “Sleep Counter.”
“Dreaming of helping millions of people pushed him to use knowledge obtained during his degree program to help those with insomnia,” the website reads. “A problem that has sometimes life threatening consequences!”
Neighbor Hector Fuentes said he knew Coleman as a familiar face inside their Chestnut Street building of loft-style apartments. Fuentes said he would occasionally hold the elevator for Coleman, or vice versa, and said the last time he saw him was on Tuesday.
“He was a pretty regular guy, a normal guy. I’ve never seen anything weird, no weird behavior,” Fuentes recalled. “I was working. I saw the news. I saw his picture. I immediately knew he was my neighbor and it was pretty shocking.”
Fuentes said the developments made him feel uneasy and anxious.
Coleman’s downstairs neighbor told Eyewitness News he heard noises from the apartment above on Monday and again in the early morning hours of Thursday. He said Coleman was a “nice guy,” but now wonders if he should have gone upstairs to check on the source of the unusual sounds.
“What could I have done? Should I have gone up and said, ‘Hey what’s going on?'” he said. “I don’t know.”
Coleman’s apartment building sits adjacent to portions of the Johnson & Wales downtown campus, where Tiffany Phou is a student. She told Eyewitness News Coleman left a note on her parked car sometime last year.
“I threw the note away as it was very creepy, but I do remember he left his Instagram handle,” Phou recalled. She said the note said something along the lines of, “I couldn’t help notice how beautiful you are.”
Looking back, it gives her chills.
“It doesn’t sit well with me how what happened to that poor girl could have happened to me,” she said.
Tim White and Kait Walsh contributed to this report.