A Texas man is behind bars after he allegedly killed a woman and hid her body in a recycling bin, only for it to be discovered by his own mother.
Alex Akpan, 24, has been charged with murder in the death of 23-year-old Irene Yemitan.
Yemitan’s body was found on September 5 when Akpan’s mother went into her son’s bedroom at the home they both share and saw a green recycling bin.
She found it strange the bin was in her son’s room instead of the backyard. When she lifted the lid, she discovered a human foot.
Akpan’s mother then tipped over the bin and found Yemitan’s body inside. She called her ex-husband and they alerted authorities and attempted CPR.
Yemitan, an aspiring beauty stylist and student at Houston Community College, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities said there were no obvious signs of trauma on Yemitan’s body, but noted her eyes seemed to signify that she had been strangled.
The county medical examiner has since determined that strangulation was the cause of death.
A witness told police that Yemitan had only met Akpan a few days before her death.
The witness and Yemitan had been at West Oaks Mall when they befriended Akpan, a fellow HCC student who was studying computer science.
Yemitan and Akpan began exchanging phone calls and text messages and she had gone over to his house with the witness on several occasions.
The witness said she had been at Akpan’s house with Yemitan the day before her body was discovered, according to the Houston Chronicle.
She told police that Akpan became upset that day because Yemitan parked her car on the street, scaring them as he threw a chair and screamed and cursed at them.
Yemitan had posted a video on her YouTube page just a day before her body was discovered that was titled ‘LIFE UPDATE?’
In the video she revealed to friends and family that she had been busy with school.
‘Where have I been? What have I been doing? Hold up, I have some explaining to do,’ she told her viewers.
‘I’ve been at school, that’s what I’ve been doing. School, living my best life,’ she happily told the camera.
Yemitan revealed in the video that she was going to start a hair business and had even made business cards.
‘I do have some things I wanna tell y’all, but it’s a surprise,’ she then said. ‘I’ll share that with y’all later.
‘Anyways, I can’t complain. I’m blessed, I’m happy, I’m doing what I need to do. I’m taking care of myself.’
After police arrived at the scene of Akpan’s house, his mother called him and he said he was on his way home and knew what had happened, prosecutors said.
But once he arrived Akpan refused to give a statement to investigators and requested a lawyer, according to KTRK.
He was initially charged with tampering with evidence of a human corpse and was released from custody after posting $10,000 bond. He was arrested again on Wednesday.
Akpan appeared in court on Thursday wearing a black T-shirt with the words #Lightthefuture written on the front.
On the back were the words ‘Psalm 82.3’, a Bible verse that reads: ‘Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed’.
Akpan is currently being held on $250,000 bond at Harris County Jail.
Prosecutors had requested he be held on $500,000 bond, claiming he was a flight risk and that authorities had learned his family planned to send him to Nigeria.
The prosecutor also claimed Akpan was an ‘extreme danger to the community’, revealing that he had threatened his sister with a gun last year.
Akpan was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2017, but his sister asked that the charges be dismissed.
It took authorities a week to identify Yemitan’s body, only discovering her name after sharing photos of her face and the clothes she was wearing when she died.
Friends remembered the aspiring beauty stylist as a girl who remained resilient despite being bullied for her skin color in high school.
‘Her soul was too beautiful for this world,’ Quaneisha Morris told the Houston Chronicle. ‘Irene had the biggest, the most pure heart.’
‘No matter what people did to her or said to her, she was always kind.’