Snow plow driver, wife charged in Vt. woman death - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Snow plow driver, wife charged in Vt. woman death

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Melissa Jenkins Melissa Jenkins
Allen Prue (Photo: VT State Police) Allen Prue (Photo: VT State Police)
Patricia Prue (Photo: VT State Police) Patricia Prue (Photo: VT State Police)

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. - A snow plow driver and his wife are being charged in connection with the killing of a Vermont prep school teacher, who police say died from strangulation.

Court documents say 30-year-old Allen Prue and his 33-year-old wife Patricia Prue, of Waterford, lured 33-year-old Melissa Jenkins from her home by pretending their vehicle had broken down and they needed help, and then strangled her before throwing her body in a river.

The only motive suggested in the court documents filed in the case against was that Allen Prue told police he wanted to "get a girl" on Sunday night. The documents say that in the past Allen Prue had asked victim Melissa Jenkins out.

Patricia Prue allegedly called Jenkins on Sunday night and told her they needed help.

The documents show Jenkins' body was found in the Connecticut River, just over the state line in New Hampshire. It was weighted down with blocks and was partially covered by branches.

The Vermont State Police say both are facing 2nd degree murder charges and improper disposal of a body in connection with the killing of Jenkins. They both pleaded not guilty during Wednesday's arraignment in St. Johnsbury's court. 

Following the Wednesday court appearance, Allen Prue's mother, Donna Prue, says her son has never been in trouble with the law before and she has faith he didn't commit the crime.

Police announced the arrests after the two-day investigation at a news conference Wednesday and refused to take questions.

The names of the suspects were first reported by The Caledonian Record newspaper. The newspaper describes Allen Prue as a snow plow driver who also delivered newspapers for the Caledonian Record.

Vermont State Police Maj. Ed Ledo said the Prues knew Jenkins and "had snow plowed her driveway a couple of years ago."

The married couple is being held at the Northeast Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury without bail. Police say additional charges are pending and the investigation has determined this was an isolated incident.

"We are grateful for all of the assistance and support from cooperating agencies, the community, and the press while we investigated this case," said Major Ed Ledo. "Our efforts in this case are not complete, as there is still much work to be done; however we hope these arrests help bring some closure to the family and friends of Melissa Jenkins."

Jenkins was a 33-year-old single-mother and a beloved St. Johnsbury Academy science teacher. Her 2-year-old son was found alone in her idling SUV not far from her home on Sunday, and her body was later found on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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