The boyfriend of a missing woman has been charged with homicide after security footage showed him carrying what appeared to be a body out of a house in Montana.
Laura Johnson was last seen alive on Sept. 13, 2018. She was reported missing on Sept. 24, 2018 by family members who said they hadn’t heard from her for several weeks.
Boyfriend Gregory Green, 53, was arrested in Nevada on April 17 on a charge of deliberate homicide, the Billings Police Department said in a press release.
Johnson’s mother told the department that Johnson had moved to Billings approximately two months prior to be with her boyfriend, Green, according to an affidavit (pdf) filed in court supporting the charge. She said Johnson had gotten a job at a Papa John’s location there. A police officer checked with the location and found out that Johnson last worked on Sept. 13 and hadn’t shown up or called in for her next shift.
The officer then went to Johnson’s house, observing that both her name and Green’s name were on the mailbox door. No one answered.
18-70646: UPDATE; Arrest was made in the disappearance of Laura Johnson. Please see attached copy of BPD Press Release. – LT Wooley pic.twitter.com/09lhpACNJ8
— BillingsPD (@BillingsPD) April 18, 2019
A few weeks later, another officer met with Green at his workplace, where Green claimed that Johnson had left him around Sept. 13 or Sept. 14 and left the house.
“He did not have any other information about her and claimed not to know how to locate her,” the officer wrote.
Officers soon learned that Johnson was a recovering drug addict and regularly attended meetings at a recovery clinic in Billings. A staff member said that Johnson was last seen there on Sept. 13 and that she’d been there every day for the three weeks prior.
In another interview with Green, the defendant told the officers that he came home from working and found that Johnson was gone and had taken two suitcases with her. He said it was normal behavior and that she’d probably returned to Oregon to be with her family.
On Oct. 3, officers searched Johnson and Green’s residence with Green’s permission. Green also allowed a detective to search his phone, on which he had two texts sent by him to Johnson on Sept. 15. One read, “You left again i see where to now.” The other read, “I hope your happy with your new guy, maybe you both will do harion [sic] together DOPERS.”
The next day, detectives learned that a neighbor had home surveillance and that one of the cameras may have recorded events at the defendant’s residence around the time of Johnson’s disappearance. A detective and Johnson’s son met with the homeowner and viewed footage from a camera pointed in the direction of Johnson and Green’s residence.
Police arrested a Henderson man on a charge of deliberate homicidehttps://t.co/BpNX8zBz8T
— Las Vegas RJ (@reviewjournal) April 19, 2019
“The detectives noted several interesting events from the recordings,” the affidavit states. On Sept. 14, at 5:48 p.m. Green was “carrying a very heavy object, ‘cradle-style,’ out of his garage. This object which was covered in a red colored blanket was consistent with the size and shape of a body.”
The footage showed Green putting the heavy object into the passenger side of his truck, into the rear seat. About 40 minutes later, he started a small fire toward the rear of the pickup on the driveway but it wasn’t clear what he was burning. About 10 minutes later, he placed a shovel into the bed of the pickup. He left the house about 20 minutes later and didn’t return for nearly three-and-a-half hours.
On Oct. 5, Green went to a police station and gave a formal recorded statement in which he said when he returned home from work a Buick, which he had been allowing Johnson to use, was in the driveway and the keys were on the counter. He said that Johnson took off without the car and only took the two red suitcases.
When detectives informed him of the footage, he responded, “I ain’t gonna say anything else.”
During a second search of the residence later that day, a detective found that there was a section of new carpet in the back bedroom. The next day, a search of Green’s truck uncovered a piece of mail addressed to Johnson and dated Oct. 3.
Green took off on Oct. 6 and arrived in Henderson, Nevada after driving through the night.
A detective found three small visible reddish-brown stains in Green’s truck on Oct. 9. On Oct. 11, a neighbor, Taylor Harlson, said that he’d overheard Johnson and Green fighting one evening while he was outside his house, figuring the fight happened sometime between Sept. 10 and Sept. 15.
Other footage subsequently obtained by detectives in Yellowstone County showed Green driving through the area, with detectives determining that he drove to a rural area south of Laurel.
A review of the security footage from the neighbor showed that Johnson never walked away from or left the residence in Billings from Sept. 13 through Sept. 25 after she had entered the house on Sept. 13.
On Nov. 28, 2018, forensic testing of the suspected blood taken from the truck was tagged as likely being Johnson.