An Alabama woman who was attending college with dreams of pursuing a career in graphics and design was found murdered in her apartment over the weekend, according to police.
Madison Shea Pilkington, 25, of Hoover, was found dead Saturday inside her apartment at The Halston, the Hoover Police Department said in a statement Sunday.
Pilkington’s family became concerned when they learned she failed to show up at work Friday at Baumhower’s Victory Grille in Vestavia Hills, AL.com reports.
A family member went to check on her and found her unresponsive inside her apartment just after 4 a.m. on Saturday and called 911, according to the HPD.
“Evidence collected in the case revealed that Pilkington died as a result of an assault,” the HPD said.
Pilkington died of blunt force trauma, AL.com reports.
Authorities quickly identified Cortez Lenarde Warren, 32, of Hoover, Pilkington’s boyfriend, as the suspect, the HPD said in an update Monday.
He is believed to have been Pilkington’s boyfriend for less than a year, AL.com reports.
On Saturday, police issued a BOLO for Warren and the white Nissan Altima he was driving, AL.com reports.
Warren was spotted driving through Irondale and Birmingham and then onto Interstate 65 with officers from three different towns in pursuit.
Warren allegedly led the pack of officers on a long car chase that ended when he pulled over on the highway, ABC 33/40 News reports.
As an officer from Fultondale was pulling over, a passing motorist struck his SUV from behind, the outlet reports.
The officer and the driver were taken to a local hospital. The officer was treated and released and the driver remained in the hospital, ABC 33/40 News reports.
Police arrested Warren, who was held in the Hoover City Jail.
On Monday, the HPD announced that detectives obtained the necessary warrants against Warren to proceed with the case.
Warren is charged with murder, tampering with physical evidence, and unlawful possession of marijuana, say police.
He is being held on three bonds totaling $262,000.
Warren will be transferred to the Jefferson County Jail later on Monday. It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
As police continue to investigate, Pilkington’s family and friends are mourning her loss.
“It’s been such a shock,” her aunt, Dana Armstrong, told AL.com. “We’re devastated and we want people to keep us in their prayers.”
A graduate of Springville High School, Pilkington was attending college while working at a restaurant preparing for a career in graphics and design, her aunt told AL.com.
“She was beautiful both inside and out,” said her aunt, Dana Armstrong. “She was loved by everyone who knew her.”
Pilkington was a “super bubbly, awesome, awesome person to be around,” her friend, Tristan Van Bogart, told ABC 33/40 News “If you were having a bad day, you went and saw Madison.”
“She was always so joyful,” he told the outlet, saying this is “more than just a tragedy.”
In a GoFundMe Armstrong set up to help defray funeral costs, she wrote, “My beautiful niece, Madison Shea Pilkington, has gained her angel wings. The family is needing help paying the funeral and final expenses, so I am asking anyone who feels the calling in their heart to please contribute.
“Please pray for our entire family, as you can guess we are all devastated. Thank you all for your prayers.”