Corey Dean Thomas charged with strangling girlfriend, stuffing body in crawl space

Corey Thomas was "tired of Minnesota women."

That's what police investigators say Thomas told his brother six months ago. He was so sick of local women that he abruptly sold his car at a loss and hopped a bus to Miami.

The local cops were there to greet him. They say Thomas resisted arrest and had to be Tased.

Because it wasn't the quality of Minnesota women he was upset with: He was trying to get away from what he'd done to one, according to police.

The story from the criminal complaint starts when Megan Neely, a 27-year-old mother of two, was last seen buying food at a Walmart in West St. Paul on October 14. The next day, she spoke with the father of one of her children, and complained that she'd been up all night fighting with her live-in boyfriend -- Thomas. She planned to leave him and "expected drama." It's the last time anyone heard from her.

The next day, Neely's sister Samantha frantically called Megan's phone, alarmed because Megan was uncharacteristically out of touch. Thomas eventually answered Samantha's call and told her he'd left for Chicago, taking Megan's phone. He claimed he'd paid for it and the last time he saw Megan she was heading for a T-Mobile store.

"Some dude was going to buy her a phone," Thomas would later recount.

Samantha called the police, who searched Megan's apartment. There was no sign of her. After a couple of days, Megan also failed to pick up her daughter and show up for work. Police returned to her apartment again, this time to check some storage spaces. They found Megan stuffed into a tiny crawl space in a bedroom. She'd been strangled to death.

Two days after her body was discovered, Miami police arrested Thomas at a hotel -- he'd violated his parole by leaving Minnesota. That allowed Ramsey County to hold him in jail for the last six months, until they could get back DNA test results from skin found under Megan's fingernails and a semen sample. Both matched Thomas.

"We had the luxury of time," says Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

Thomas has denied killing Megan throughout the investigation, and says that scratch marks on his neck and arms were from work. A work supervisor told cops he'd never seen injuries on Thomas.

"That was a very tragic homicide," says Choi. "We'll be pursuing this case vigorously to bring justice to the victim and her family."

Thomas is charged with murder in the second degree.

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