MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — The woman whose body was found in a vacant lot in Muskegon Heights this week died of strangulation, prosecutors say.

Timothy Day, 39, was charged Wednesday with open murder, lying to police and improper disposal of a body in the death of Brenda Hooper, 49. Bond was denied. He is due back in court Feb. 28 for a preliminary hearing.

During Wednesday’s court proceedings, authorities said Hooper died Oct. 12. They said Day eventually told police he killed her when he strangled her during a consensual sex act.

“During a post-Miranda interview Timothy Day admitted to (detectives) that he and Brenda had been engaged in sex and consuming crack cocaine together,” court documents filed in the case read in part. “During sex, she asked Tim Day to choke her. Timothy Day did choke her and at some point he found she was no longer conscious. Tim Day stated he attempted CPR life saving measures that were not successful. He did not attempt to call for emergency medical assistance by calling 911.”

Investigators say he admitted to keeping her body at their apartment on Clay Street in Muskegon for four days until a smell became apparent, then wrapped it in several layers of plastic garbage bags and dumped it in a vacant lot off 6th Street and Summit Avenue in Muskegon Heights. He led police to where he left her, court documents say.

Investigators found it there late Monday night.

On Wednesday, friends gathered a makeshift memorial near where Hooper’s body was found.

“She was always smiling, had the most beautiful smile,” Andrea Harmon, who went to high school with Hooper, said. “She did not deserve that.”

An undated courtesy photo of Brenda Hooper.

In the days after Hooper was reported missing in October, Day posted on social media, asking for help finding her and for prayers. For months, he denied he knew anything about where she was or what happened to her.

Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson said the county’s Violence Against Women Task Force played a key role in Day’s arrest within the last week.

A Feb. 7, 2022, booking photo of Timothy Day from the Muskegon County Jail.

“Detectives were able to gather some pretty important information that turned Mr. Day from a person of interest to a likely suspect,” Hilson said. “And then for the last couple of days, we were able to put it all together, which led to the discovery of the body in Muskegon Heights.”

The Violence Against Women Task Force, which is federally funded, assigns a detective and two prosecutors to domestic assault cases. Hilson said it takes pressured off of area detective bureaus with limited resources.

“Because this unit is separate from that, even though we are triage our own investigations involving violence against woman, it’s not to the level of the amount other detectives are facing on their plate,” Hilson said. “Because of that, they’re able to spend a lot of additional time that may not be afforded to another person because of all the extra things going on.”