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Arizona woman missing, grandson in custody

  • Helen Jean Lee, 78, has been missing since Wednesday
  • An unidentified body was found in Gila Bend on Saturday
  • Lee's 40-year-old grandson is in custody; Police say he's the 'prime suspect' in her disappearance
Hellen Jean Lee, 78, is missing in Goodyear, Arizona

An Arizona grandmother has been missing since Wednesday, the same day her grandson allegedly carjacked a woman. Now, police say Jason Howell is the prime suspect in her disappearance.

Howell, the 40-year-old grandson of Helen Jean Lee, is currently in police custody. Authorities say Howell was arrested after allegedly stealing a running car that had a 12-year-old girl inside and led officers on a car chase, according to HLN affiliate KNXV. Authorities say the girl was able to escape before the police pursuit.

Lee's daughter called police on October 30 after she couldn't reach her 78-year-old mother for several hours. Detectives who gained access to the Goodyear, Arizona, home Lee shared with Howell found evidence that indicates "possible foul play," according to police. KNXV reports that the home's garage door had been bashed in.

Investigators say Howell led them to an area to the west of Gila Bend, Arizona, where they saw what appeared to be a concealed body. There wasn't actually a body at the location, but police say they were able to collect additional evidence of a crime.

Detectives did eventually locate an unidentified body in the desert on Saturday, near the area where Howell originally led them.

"Obviously if we haven't heard from her, the church hasn't heard from her, cell phone's turned off, it's pretty ominous in my opinion," neighbor Don Morrison told KNXV.

Another neighbor, Becky Larsen, told KNXV she met Howell and "could tell that maybe he had troubles in his life and maybe his grandmother was helping him out... he seemed polite.”

According to court documents released Friday and obtained by KNXV, Howell admitted to being drunk and high on meth on Wednesday.

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