SEARSBURG, Vt. (NEWS10) — A Bennington man has been arrested after a nearly three-year investigation into the disappearance and death of a Ballston Spa woman. Vermont State Police charged Deven Moffitt, 32, with Second Degree Murder in the killing of Jessica Hildenbrandt.

The investigation began in September 2019 after a man reported finding a human jawbone at a gravel pit in Searsburg, Vt. DNA analysis identified the remains as belonging to 43-year-old Hildenbrandt. Her death was ruled a homicide in September 2020.

Jessica Hildenbrandt, 43, of Ballston Spa, New York. (Vermont State Police)

According to police, Moffitt and Hildenbrandt were in a relationship while Moffitt was in a Vermont jail on a previous conviction. Hildenbrandt told the Windsor County State’s Attorney’s Office and state police she feared for her life if Moffitt were released from prison, but officials said she stopped cooperating with the investigation.

After her remains were found, VSP learned Hildenbrandt posted bail for Moffitt on July 8, 2019. She was killed later that month.

Moffitt was arrested Wednesday. Law enforcement from multiple agencies attempted to arrest him outside an apartment complex on South Street in Bennington when he ran from police. Two troopers each fired one round but were unable to stop him. A chase ensued, and Moffitt was ultimately tackled and arrested. No injuries were reported.

Moffitt was sent to jail without bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Samuel Truex at the Shaftsbury Barracks at 802-442-5421 or by email at Tips also can be submitted anonymously online at