Landlord confesses in murders of Battle Creek couple

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A landlord is in custody after admitting to killing a Battle Creek couple who’ve been missing for more than a week, investigators say.

Chad Reed, 53, confessed in the double homicide of Joseph Soule, 34, and Jaclyn Lepird, 31. They were last seen on Oct. 7. Their bodies were recovered and identified Thursday.

During a press conference Thursday afternoon, Battle Creek Police Department Sgt. Detective Joel Case said they were notified Oct. 12 by family members that the couple was missing. The following day, detectives found the incident suspicious, which prompted an extensive investigation.

Police in Battle Creek investigating a home of a missing couple. (Oct. 15, 2020)

Case said the couple was living in an upstairs apartment on Post Avenue near Marjorie Street. Reed lived below them and was their landlord. Police were investigating at the home Thursday afternoon.

According to Reed, the incident started as an altercation between him and the couple.

“From everybody that we’ve talked to — friends, family — it sounds like they had an ongoing dispute where they could not get along. They had arguments about money, they had arguments about you name it. So it was relatively common for him to be complaining to people that he was annoyed by them, didn’t get along with them,” Case told reporters Thursday afternoon.

Reed told investigators that he shot Soule after he pulled a knife out on him. He then shot Lepird as she was running away before beating and strangling her in the backyard.

Courtesy photos of Joseph Soule and Jaclyn Lepird.
Courtesy photos of Joseph Soule and Jaclyn Lepird.

He then admitted to wrapping their bodies in a bag and putting them in the back of his truck. Once family member started searching for the couple, he moved the truck with their bodies into a garage at an abandoned home in the area.

The bodies were in the truck outside the landlord’s home for a “couple of days” before he moved the truck to the garage at the vacant home, Reed told detectives. 

The suspect turned himself in to detectives Thursday around noon.

Reed has been charged with two counts of open murder. He is being held at the Calhoun County jail.

According to the Michigan State Police’s Sex Offender Registry, Reed has been a registered sex offender since 2003.

Evidence in the case is still being investigated.

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