Eagle River man, charged in woman’s disappearance, was filmed carrying a body to his car

A graphic image created for Jerilyn Nicholson’s funeral. (Nicholson family via KYUK)

A surveillance camera captured Eddie Thomas Jr. carrying a body to his car in Eagle River days before his ex-girlfriend was found dead at the base of a cliff near Eklutna Lake Road, according to a newly-filed charging document.

Police arrested Thomas Jr., 36, Tuesday in connection with the disappearance of Jerilyn Nicholson. She was last seen on April 24.

Thomas Jr. is charged with tampering with physical evidence, misconduct involving a corpse, unlawful conduct and violating conditions of release, the charging document said. 

The document sheds some light on what may have happened to Nicholson, a 27-year-old woman who grew up in Bethel and Dillingham before moving to Anchorage.

Nicholson’s father reported her missing on April 30.

He said the family had been unable to contact her since April 26. She was last seen two days before that. Nicholson had been at the family’s home and then went to Thomas Jr.’s apartment in Eagle River, according to the charging document.

Thomas Jr. told police that Nicholson wanted to take a bath and have a drink, but she left within an hour. He said they had a disagreement and she was upset. 

But, police said a photo posted to Instagram on April 24 appears to show Nicholson taking a bath at his home, and surveillance video shows Nicholson buying alcohol from a nearby store that night.

RELATED: Man arrested in woman’s death after body found near Eklutna Lake

On April 27, three days after Nicholson was last seen, surveillance cameras captured Thomas Jr. leaving his apartment around 11:30 a.m., carrying a body. He put the body in his Subaru’s front passenger seat and drove away, according to the charging document. Investigators said the body appeared to match Nicholson’s description.

The FBI also determined that Nicholson’s cell phone didn’t leave the area around Thomas Jr.’s apartment until April 29, the charges said.

Nicholson’s remains were found Saturday, May 1.

The medical examiner had not determined her cause of death by Wednesday, said the charging document.

According to the charges, Thomas Jr. had been ordered in October to not have any contact with Nicholson after she called police to his apartment.

Thomas Jr. is at Anchorage Jail, where he is awaiting trial. 

Reach reporter Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@alaskapublic.org or 907-550-8447.

Tegan Hanlon is the digital managing editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at thanlon@alaskapublic.org or 907-550-8447. Read more about Tegan here.

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