The prime suspect in the disappearance of a Meriden mother of two was employed by a textile recycling business in Waterbury where human remains were discovered this week.
Jason Watson, 38, faces domestic violence charges for allegedly assaulting Perrie Mason, 31, after the Meriden couple broke up this month, according to the arrest warrant.
During a court appearance Wednesday Watson was identified as the prime suspect in Mason’s disappearance and was being held on $650,000 bond. A judge recalled Watson’s case later in the day and raised the bond to $1 million.
Watson’s attorney said in court that his client works for Bay State Textiles and holds a commercial driver’s license.
Police continued to investigate at a Bay State textiles’ facility at 137 Brookside Road in Waterbury throughout the day Thursday after human remains were found.
Cori Cea-Curry, Bay State’s Connecticut recycling development coordinator, said late Thursday afternoon that Watson “is not currently an employee,” but declined further questions. She said police instructed company officials not to comment on the investigation.
Meriden police Lt. John Mennone said in a statement Thursday that the major crimes division is “actively processing all related evidence in an attempt to ascertain the whereabouts of Ms. Mason.”
“It is our mission to conduct this investigation and search as systematically and as carefully as needed in order to assure a successful conclusion to this case,” he said.
State and Waterbury police were seen searching the area around the building Wednesday and Thursday. Police interviewed people inside and moved the contents of a white bag onto a stretcher and into a van on Wednesday, according to the Waterbury Republican-American.
The state police major crimes van was still at 137 Brookside Rd. as of Thursday afternoon. Investigators could be seen wearing white coverall-type suits and one investigator was seen carrying a large brown bag into the van. About a dozen state police vehicles were on the scene. Investigators were walking into the building and around to the wooded area behind it.
Bay State Textiles identified a person named Jason Watson as a warehouse manager with the company on its website, the Republican-American reported.
‘You almost killed me’
Watson was taken into custody at the former couple’s apartment at 645 W. Main St. Tuesday night on charges of third degree assault, strangulation and unlawful restraint stemming from a domestic incident last week. Watson was also charged with violating probation.
According to the bail commissioner, Watson’s criminal history includes convictions for violating a protective order and third-degree assault, and a 2010 conviction for second-degree sexual assault and illegal sexual contact. The probation violation Watson currently faces is related to the sexual assault conviction and is the fourth violation, the bail commissioner noted.
According to the warrant, Watson called police on Sunday around 1:14 p.m. saying his live-in girlfriend “may be missing” or she may be at a friend’s house because she was mad at him. Watson told police he would call back if she didn’t go to work on Monday, and no formal missing person report was filed at that time, the warrant noted. The warrant refers to Mason as “Victim #1.”
Around 5:17 p.m. on Sunday police received a call from Mason’s sister saying she hadn’t heard from Mason in two days, the warrant said. The sister said Mason and Watson recently broke up following “heated fights,” the warrant said.
Perrie Mason | Courtesy Meriden police
The sister told police she last spoke with Mason on Thursday, when Mason told her about the alleged domestic violence earlier that morning, the warrant said. The sister said Mason told her Watson had choked her to the point of unconsciousness, the warrant said. The sister provided photographs to police which Mason had sent her showing red dots near her eye, a fat upper lip and redness on her neck, the warrant said.
Police spoke with Watson’s probation officer who said Watson called her “crying hysterically” on Aug. 19 to report that he had been in contact with police over Mason’s disappearance. Watson then came to the Meriden probation office for an unscheduled meeting.
The probation officer told police she saw a text message from Mason to Watson to the effect of “you almost killed me,” but that Watson denied any domestic violence, the warrant said.
Jason Watson during Wednesday's arraignment on domestic violence charges. | Lauren Sellew, Record-Journal
Police noted it appears that Watson and Mason broke up on Aug. 13 and the alleged domestic violence occurred on Aug. 15. The two had communication through Aug. 17 “discussing the logistics of dealing with the minor children and Watson staying elsewhere,” the warrant said.
“It should be noted that Victim #1 is currently a missing person under suspicious circumstances,” the warrant said.
According to statements in court, Mason’s two children have been placed in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families.
Police are asking anyone with information about Mason’s disappearance to contact Meriden police at 203-630-6219.