Meyersdale man charged after Somerset County remains identified

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Pennsylvania State Police have identified remains discovered in Somerset County as those of Justine Marie Jackson and today issued an arrest warrant for a Meyersdale man accused of killing her and burying her body.

Forensic anthropologists identified the remains as Ms. Jackson's after someone walking in the woods found them near the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail in Larimer Township about 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Jonathan D. Beal, 23, is accused of strangling Ms. Jackson, 19, of Meyersdale, and burying her under the bridge commonly referred to as the viaduct.

Mr. Beal told people in and around the Meyersdale area that he had killed Ms. Jackson and buried her body "near the bike trail," according to the affidavit.

Mr. Beal has a "known, violent, history with women," according to the affidavit. Ms. Jackson told friends and family she thought she was pregnant with Mr. Beal's child.

Trooper Ted Goins has been investigating the case since Oct. 26, when a student at the Somerset Career and Technology Center told police she thought Mr. Beal killed her best friend, Ms. Jackson.

Until Sunday, police were investigating her disappearance as a missing persons case.

During the investigation, at least two people told authorities they last saw Ms. Jackson alive with Mr. Beal on or around Sept. 14. They said she was traveling on foot southeast toward Scratch Hill Road, where Mr. Beal lives.

Mr. Beal told police he was with Ms. Jackson, but that they did not encounter anyone else that day, according to the affidavit.

He said he ended an "intimate relationship" with her because of purported drug use, according to the affidavit.

Police said he told people Ms. Jackson moved to Baltimore to sell drugs, prompting fruitless searches from various law enforcement departments in Maryland.

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede.


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